Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween sale!

In the spirit of commercializing holidays, I’m offering special Halloween deals!

As the weather gets chillier, only books can keep you warm. It’s a proven scientific fact.* Please allow me to assist.

*Facts asserted on the Internet are not necessarily facts.

From now through Halloween, I’m knocking RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death down to one-third of its price. You can download it for only 99 cents at Amazon and Smashwords. (For Smashwords, use coupon code JH33C before checkout.) After Halloween, it’ll return to $2.99. I’m not planning any Kindle Select free days, sorry. $0.99 is as low as it’ll go.

Earths in Space vol. 1: Where Are the Little Green Men? will remain $1.99, but if you download it and let me know, I’ll give you a free PDF, ePub, or Mobi of the first RIP novelette, “Touch,” along with a PDF of the RIP television pilot script that started this whole thing off. So, if you like sci-fi but aren’t sure about those pesky ghosts, here’s a safe way to sample the series.

The Earths in Space links are collected here.

And what the heck. I’ll cut 10 percent off my editing services, too.

Offers end Nov. 1. Happy Halloween!

Manic Pixie Dream Girl — subverted?

I may have accidentally subverted the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope in RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death.Serissa

It wasn’t a goal. I wasn’t even aware of the term until just last week after I watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s (yeah, I know I shouldn’t like it, and yet…I do) and came across an article criticizing Audrey Hepburn’s character as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (though others criticize that criticism, naturally).

Film critic Nathan Rabin coined the term not long ago. 2007 doesn’t feel like all that long ago, anyway. He defined such a character as one who “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” Continue reading

A parade of RIP quotes

RIP-V1-finalI tried something new (to me) on Saturday. Throughout the day, I posted a series of dialogue quotes from the just-released RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death on my Facebook page.

In case you missed it, I’ve collected them all here. They’re that collectable.

“He can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste ghosts.”
“Except I don’t taste.”
“But he can.”
“I don’t taste.”
–Serissa and Rip

“I was floating around in a funk, waiting for Hell to shoot me up a welcome home flare, and then–wham!  Instant epiphany. Oh, wait, they’re all instant, aren’t they?” — Serissa

“You’re dead. Make no mistake. But now we get to discover precisely what sort of man you are.” –Zeno

“Sure, you catch us by surprise, pick us off one by one — you’ll get some lucky shots in that way. But you’re still just a guy. Still just as vulnerable — and mortal — as any guy. And you can’t lock us out. You can never lock us out.” — a ghost, to Rip

“You must be Serissa.”
“I must. Got no choice, really.”
–Zeno and Serissa

“I once knew a guy last name of Danger. Danger could’ve been my married name. Mrs. Danger. Okay, it was Dangerfield.” — Serissa

“Can you please stop playing Spider-Woman with my ceiling?”
“Maybe I’ll return your precious ceiling if maybe you give me some answers.”
–Rip and Serissa

“You think you’re some angel? Everything you do, you do for one person — yourself. It’s all about you. You help Rip because you enjoy being able to touch someone again. You help people to hide from your guilt. You help them all because you… think it’s your key to ‘Heaven’ — assuming that’s where you’d even end up. You’re a glutton for anything that’ll make you feel good about your waste of an existence.” — a ghost, to Serissa

“When you’re a ghost, everyone’s like a ghost to you, like they’re only half there. Everyone you love passes right through you.” — Serissa

“You can tell those girls there was this monstrous cookie, or–Oh! Oh! Even better! You got into a big bakery brawl with Cookie–”
“Serissa…”
–Serissa and Rip

“Zombies. Do I have to worry about zombies, too?”
“I never met any.”
“Not really the firm answer I was hoping for.”
“I’ve only been dead a couple of years. What am I supposed to be, the Encyclopedia Brown of death? … Was that the correct usage of Encyclopedia Brown?”
–Rip and Serissa

RIP is now available at Amazon and Smashwords.

RIP excerpt #4 of 4

Today I uploaded RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death to Amazon and Smashwords. Why yes, I will share the links tomorrow.RIP-V1-final

While we’re waiting, here’s an excerpt from the fourth novelette, “Point B.” It was tough to choose a snippet from this one without giving anything away, but I persevered.

*****

Rip’s lungs burned up their last reserves and broke his sprint. He skidded to a stop while the neurologist stepped through a brick wall.

“There you are! I had this thought. I still have all my professional expertise. I just lack the means to communicate with, well, anyone, except you, and I guess those other six. But what are the odds I’m going to meet any of them? I’m lucky I ran into you. So here’s what I’m thinking. I can still help my patients. I just have to do it through you. I’ll tell you exactly what to do and what to tell them. You can even use my office and all the equipment. I only died a few weeks ago. Everything’s still there. You can be my—what’s that term? Medium! Yes, you can be my medium.”

Rip backed up. “Um, no thanks. I have my own—”

“Your own what? Your own life? Again with that tone…”

“—my own things I need to—”

“And you think your ‘things’ are more important than my work? Do you understand what neurological damage can do to a person?”

“I’m not doubting you, uh, sir. I just—I’m not a doctor, so how—”

“I have an old colleague who can forge credentials. You and I could be quite a team.”

“That’s flattering, but I’m sorry. I can’t do that.”

The neurologist extended a shaky pointer finger. “Maybe I’m not being clear enough. We will be a team, or I will make you experience firsthand the dangers of neurotmesis.”

Serissa patted Rip on the back. “So yeah, buddy, you ran into an alley where there are no people, so there’s no chance of me being able to help you. Smart move, Light-Bright.”

*****

Ghosts are people, too, but not all ghosts choose to be good people.

Rip Cooper must overcome his fears and kill dead people to prevent them from corrupting the living. This young loner learns he can perceive ghosts with his five senses as if they were flesh and blood, and he’s just as solid to them — pretty much the only solid thing, in fact. He works alongside an impure “angel” and his ex-best friend’s ex-girlfriend as they teach him how love can lead to strength.

RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death features the first four novelettes in this coming-of-age and redemption story: “Touch,” “Alone,” “The Crazy Line,” and “Point B,” plus the short story “Strength.”

 

RIP excerpt #3 of 4

Another day, another RIP excerpt.RIP-V1-final

Here’s one from the third novelette, “The Crazy Line.”

*****

“So what do you think is wrong with those other ghosts?” Mac asked. “The ‘evil’ ones?”

Serissa looked forward. “Gluttony.”

“But they don’t have…Ghosts don’t eat.”

“They don’t ‘nom nom nom’ eat, no, but they make their own feasts.”

“Um, okay.” Mac touched his tongue and studied the lack of sensation. “I haven’t eaten since—two whole weeks, and I’m not hungry. Do you ever feel hunger?”

“No. I get phantom hunger. It’s special. Just wait. You’ll get it, too.”

“But if I get hungry and I can’t eat anything…That sounds awfully unpleasant.”

“Eh.” Serissa rocked her head back and forth in search of an example. “Take chocolate. I really loved chocolate. It was soooo good. Sometimes, I’ll lose myself fantasizing about that taste. I got my memories, so I taste the memories. And taste and taste and taste…”

“That kind of sounds like gluttony.”

She didn’t hear him. Sensory memories consumed her, and she let them—but only for a moment.

“Ah, chocolate. So yeah. I hunger for things. Whoa, that sounded creepy. Hunger just does not work as a verb. Anyway, I indulge in delicious memories here and there, but I’m careful to restrain myself. Too much fantasy, not good.”

“And the bad ghosts…?”

“No restraint. They give in to every single whim that crosses their whacked-out minds. Like, they see someone hurting and they think, ‘Hey, maybe I can make that worse.’ And they do, as if it’ll somehow relieve their own pain. They can’t get enough of it. Gluttons. All a bunch of psychotic gluttons.”

*****

RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death is coming soon!

Ghosts are people, too. What kind of people, however, is up to each one to decide.

Rip Cooper learns he can perceive ghosts with his five senses as if they were flesh and blood, and he’s just as solid to them — pretty much the only solid thing, in fact. This young loner has to overcome his fears and kill dead people to prevent them from corrupting the living. He works alongside an impure “angel” and his ex-best friend’s ex-girlfriend as they teach him how love can lead to strength.

RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death features the first four novelettes in this coming-of-age and redemption story: “Touch,” “Alone,” “The Crazy Line,” and “Point B,” plus the short story “Strength.”

RIP excerpt #2 of 4

RIP-V1-finalPlease enjoy this excerpt from the second RIP novelette, “Alone.”

RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death will be here before you know it! The wondrous process of proofreading continues!

*****

“You got a glow about you,” Serissa said. “Where’d you get the glow?”

“Nothing. I don’t—”

“Awfully quick nothing coming out of your mouth there.”

“It’s nothing.”

“Even quicker.” She tapped Rip’s forehead. “Let it out, boy. I know of only one force on this planet that makes you not miserable, and Kalli was with me. Or is it Kalli? What day is it?”

“Can you please stop playing Spider-Woman with my ceiling?”

“Maybe I’ll return your precious ceiling if maybe you give me some answers.”

Rip stared up at the white plane, and he shrugged.

She pressed her finger on his nose. “Talk.”

He figured he’d lose eventually anyway, so he got on with it. “I met a ghost who was haunting the library, and I think I might actually be able to help her instead of—”

Serissa hung her head. “Her? Oh, Ripley, you poor stupid boy.”

“What? If I can help a ghost become less creepy and more like…” Upon spotting Serissa crouched on the ceiling and repeatedly banging her head through it, he found cause to adjust his statement. “If I can save a ghost’s soul, isn’t that better than outright condemning her to Hell?”

Serissa flung herself to the floor to address him from a more conventional perspective. “In theory, yeah.”

“Oh, you’ve decided to be right-side up?”

“I do that sometimes. But you see, theory and the real world tend to duke it out real often—and you know what, buddy? Theory doesn’t always win the championship.”

“Maybe that particular theory of yours won’t, not this time.”

“A-ha! You just made my point.”

“I really don’t think I did.”

“Yes, you said a theory wouldn’t work in the real world.”

“Your theory.”

“About your theory.”

“I think you lost your point somewhere along the way.”

Serissa placed both hands on his shoulders to make a firm, serious point. “Rip, your clouded is judgment.”

“My what?”

“Your judgment is clouded! Stupid tongue! You fell for a pretty face, complete with gigantically sad eyes—I’m just guessing—and now you think you can do something that odds are you really can’t.”

*****

Once again, I’ll leave you with the book description, and come back tomorrow for another excerpt!

Ghosts are people, too. What kind of people, however, is up to each one to decide.

Rip Cooper learns he can perceive ghosts with his five senses as if they were flesh and blood, and he’s just as solid to them — pretty much the only solid thing, in fact. This young loner has to overcome his fears and kill dead people to prevent them from corrupting the living. He works alongside an impure “angel” and his ex-best friend’s ex-girlfriend as they teach him how love can lead to strength.

RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death features the first four novelettes in this coming-of-age and redemption story: “Touch,” “Alone,” “The Crazy Line,” and “Point B,” plus the short story “Strength.”

RIP excerpt #1 of 4

RIP-V1-finalRIP vol. 1: Choices After Death is in its final proofreading stages. Those four novelettes are coming to an e-reader near you soon. In the meantime, I’ll be posting an excerpt from each novelette.

The beginning seems like a very good place to start, so below is a scene from the first episode, “Touch.” More than five-hundred of you downloaded “Touch” during its Amazon Kindle Select free days.

Have you read it yet?

*****

Rip leaned against another tree and slid into a sitting position. He noticed the grass sticking through Serissa’s bare feet. “So I have to decide, basically, the course of my life from here on out—assuming, of course, I’m not simply losing my mind.”

Serissa stood her ground, summoning Rip with her finger. “Give me your hand.”

Rip climbed to his feet and stepped forward, hesitant. He reached out, unsure what to expect from a dead, intangible girl.

Nor did the dead, intangible girl know what to expect. She had no idea if this would work, but her lips curled up in the anticipation that it might. Serissa slowly interlocked her fingers with his, and they both squeezed.

Contact. Solid contact.

“You’re warm,” Rip said, feeling a soft human hand, indistinguishable from any living person’s.

“Only to you,” Serissa said, smiling at her first physical sensation since…in a long time.

*****

I’ll leave you with the book description. Stay tuned for more excerpts!

Ghosts are people, too. What kind of people, however, is up to each one to decide.

Rip Cooper learns he can perceive ghosts with his five senses as if they were flesh and blood, and he’s just as solid to them — pretty much the only solid thing, in fact. This young loner has to overcome his fears and kill dead people to prevent them from corrupting the living. He works alongside an impure “angel” and his ex-best friend’s ex-girlfriend as they teach him how love can lead to strength.

RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death features the first four novelettes in this coming-of-age and redemption story: “Touch,” “Alone,” “The Crazy Line,” and “Point B,” plus the short story “Strength.”

Go see Gravity

Gravity-posterMost movies I see in the theater these days are based on pre-existing properties, and that’s sad. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed The Avengers and the Iron Man movies, and I’m looking forward to the next X-Men, but I’d love to see Hollywood tell more good, original stories that are uniquely suited for the medium — stories that aren’t crafted by committee by-the-numbers fashion to appeal to the greatest number of people.

I’d love to see more films like Gravity, a new film by Alfonso Cuaron starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (and basically no one else).

Gravity is an amazing movie, and you need to see it. If you’re a filmmaker or a writer of any medium, study it. Continue reading

That’s a Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman’s a tough character to get right, but Rainfall Films has produced an impressive short film starring the world’s most recognizable super-heroine:

I’d be interested in learning more about that Wonder Woman.

In any case, this film is a great of example of letting images tell the story. Presenting a clear picture often beats long passages of flowery prose discussing what the character is feeling. Sometimes introspection works great, but other times a character’s actions show us much more about the person.