Someone listened! They really did!
A few months back, I posted up a podcast talking about the ways one could worm their way into my review submission pantry, despite the locked doors. Since then, I’ve gotten a number of submissions from a variety of folks, but one thing was clear …
None of them had read my submission page or listened to the podcast.
This will be short and sweet today, for possible obvious reasons.
First up: Zootopia! WHY DIDN’T I SEE THIS WHEN IT CAME OUT?!? It’s a fantastic movie and yes, you will see more about it. It’s the right kind of movie for a writer to look at on multiple fronts. Just let me say that if you haven’t seen it, see it. Like right now. GOOOOOOO!
Second, that good cheer is diminished by the sad news that a dear friend of the family and one of my next door neighbors passed last night. Pete was a very old man and lived many great years, but it doesn’t blunt the shock and the sadness of the moment.
Expect a few author interviews this week, a fresh review, and a fair bit of book news to come!
So I saw Hardcore Henry over the weekend.
First, the movie is incredible, well, if you like action movies. This is, at its core, an action flick with all that entails, so if you’re not on-board for high-octane action, you won’t like it. That being said, there’s some surprising depth of story and world-building done here and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
Today’s Monday Musings will both be a bit of a quickie and also a bit of Convention News!
So I got the good news that I’ll be appearing (in the vendors room!) at Necronomicon 2016 in Tampa, FL! Right before Halloween, I’m really looking forward to it. Combine that with my appearances at Mobicon in May and Kansas City Comic-Con in August, we get a triple threat. This will likely be it for this year, but I’m looking on getting an early start next year to get a huge convention schedule going.
If you’re in the area for any of these conventions, I hope you come by the table and see me! I’d love to meet you!
The image above is from Kingdom Come, one of the best DC Comics graphic novels out there, by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. It’s a tale that covers both the best and worst, the highest and lowest concepts of the superhero, both as savior and destroyer. It was written and drawn by people who obviously understood the characters that move the plot and also have a deep respect for what these characters, our modern gods and heroes, mean and represent.
The alien immigrant who uses his uniqueness to make his adopted home a better place (a concept so incredibly American it hurts in today’s quagmire of xenophobia and idiocy) … a man who, through grit, determination, and skill, can manage to stand among gods (again, that spirit of determination and hope that we can all better ourselves) … a warrior who uses her strength not for conquest, but for peace (again, a paradox that is oh-s0 American, yet strangely compelling). Above all, these archetypes, this Trinity of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are bound by the principle extolled in the panel above. Though they might not always be successful, these heroes, these paragons, always try to find another way, a way to succeed that doesn’t cost in the lives of others, no matter whose lives they may be.
Before I move on, from here on out, there will be spoilers for the recently released Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you read further, you have been warned!
It’s pretty obvious what this is going to be about. But we’re going to do it with vocals today! This is a serious issue so hearing it straight from the messenger’s mouth. Here we go!
I am sitting here, planning for the changes to the blog and my own work habits in the weeks ahead, and I have come to the realization that there is an important balance to walk here. How much should I change from my old course? How far should I go and how much should I keep?
The answer is, of course, obvious. As in most things, balance is called for. You can’t forget your past, but you can’t stand still either. I need to keep the things that are vital to me, while pushing past my limitations to move ahead in the places I’m deficient. I need to hold on to my humility while being confident enough to push myself forward. I need to be supportive of my colleagues while never forgetting to worry about my own well-being. It’s the classic ‘you can’t help others until you help yourself first’.
So I guess that’s something we can all remember. Always go forward but never forget your history!
This past week, I had a bit of an emotional snap. A crisis of faith, an overload of frustration, or the straw that broke the camel’s back, any and all of those might be apt descriptions for my state of being at the time. They say, and I agree, that being an author is a battle of attrition and the greatest asset needed to fight that battle is an abundance of stubborn determination, and my own supply seemed close to spent.
My closest friends sought to console me, bolster my confidence, and provide their own advice as to the cause of my problems. What they concluded on I then put forward in a more clinical fashion to some of my colleagues. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised when they all fell into agreement. It seemed that the ultimate cause of my issues was that I spread myself too thin.
You see, my foodies, it came down to a choice, one that I will paraphrase here: Do I wish to be the guy who supports authors and does work for them who does some writing on the side or the full-time author who also happens to be very supportive to other authors? My fellow book bloggers out there who are consistently active in supporting and reviewing will understand, but for others, you may not realize how much time, energy, and resources goes into a consistent schedule of reviews, interviews, and advice. A lot can go on behind the scenes, especially follow-up to reviews if the author is looking for deeper insights to your critiques.
Not only that, but my advocacy was crowding out my own writing not only in the matter of time, but in the matter of what some would call ‘branding’. My book reviews and writing articles were drawing far more attention than my own works, the thing that actually is my primary career. Instead of seguing from reading reviews or articles to then go on to the books themselves, the average visitor halts there. J. B. Garner, Author, is lost behind the guise of the Starving Reviewer.
Does this mean the reviews and articles are stopping to be replaced by daily book promotions? No, I’m not that kind of guy. I have supported authors to try to pay it forward for those few that have done the same for me, and my conscience would be ill at ease if I abruptly cut off all those who are still waiting in my TBR list. All the same, expect more content here to be directed or to reference my own works. The fact is that I am an AUTHOR first and I must act like one, instead of the nice guy who pats other authors on the back.
I’ve often been described as an out-going person, yet I am also an intensely private person. It’s the reason, I think, that I don’t really review as ‘myself’, instead creating the somewhat comedic format of ‘literary cuisine’ and all of that. It’s that little privacy fence I erected, to fulfill that side of me that just wants to hermit in his room and write stories.