Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why I Want To Like "Ghostwhisper" and "Medium", But Don't

I was thrilled when these two shows came on TV a few years ago (yes! Shows about ghosts and the young women who see them!) I liked Patricia Arquette as an actress and for being a bit of a rebel (always secretly impressed that she was married to Nicholas Cage for a while, back when he was hot), and I was neutral on Jennifer Love Hewitt.

But these two shows, while having a common theme, have leading ladies who are polar opposite personalities, and unfortunately, I don't find either one of them realistic.

Patricia Arquette, as psychic mom Alison in Medium, is about as much fun as a sack of wet laundry. The woman never smiles, EVER, and is completely self-absorbed, ignoring her gorgeously supportive husband and three semi-psychic children, sticking her nose in people's business with the finesse of an absent-minded rhinocerous, never caring about the repercussions to the living in her quest to make sense of her dreams of the dead.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, on the other hand, as Melinda in Ghostwhisper, is so sickly sweet and dewy-eyed all the time that you wonder if the spirits are drawn to her because she's made of spun sugar. She's SO girly precious-soft-and-feely that you just know she's got stuffed animals on her own personal Jennifer Love Hewitt bed. As in right now. Right this minute. I saw her on a talk show recently where she talked about how she "bedazzles" her lady parts - as in with a rhinestone stapler - which is a bit much TMI for TV, I think.

At any rate, I like characters who are realistic, and I think the writers have missed the boat on both these shows. Mix it up a little, will ya? Get Melinda out of those fake eyelashes, and let Alison do something besides frown. Get to the ghost stories, and give us some characterization we can care about.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Forever Young - Love Rod Stewart, Hate the Song, and Here's Some Alternatives

Recently, someone asked me how old I was, and I told them the truth (like a fool). The response was, "I'd like the name of your plastic surgeon."

While it was meant as a compliment, it hurt my feelings. My face is my own-nothing nipped, tucked, or injected.

I have nothing against plastic surgery, when did it become impossible to look good without it? There are several things you can do to look younger than your age, and all of them are simple (stop rolling your eyes - I can see you!):

1) Good moisturizer, every day, and stay out of the sun or at least use heavy-duty sunscreen. (Vampires, take note! You were on to something long before the rest of it realized it!)

2) Omega 3 Fish Oil. Pharmaceutical grade, not the over-the-counter stuff. Good for your heart, your complexion, your hair, your everything.

3) Laugh a lot, every chance you get. I can't emphasize this one enough.

3) Regular exercise, doesn't have to be extreme. I walk. Lots.

4) Cut way back on the red meat, unless every few months you feel a burning desire to be a carnivore. Indulge it, and then you'll remember why you don't really miss it.

5) Watch the fried foods. Fried=bad. Might as well open a bottle of fat and drink it.

6) Red wine vs. hard liquor. Must I really explain this one? One your body likes, one it doesn't. Try it, and after a day or two while your taste buds adjust, you'll like it.

7) Don't smoke. Smoke is right up there with sun when it comes to causing skin damage (not to mention what it does to your lungs, your arteries, your brain cells...)

8) Having people who love you, even if you're not perfect. (I'm not minimizing this one by putting it last - appreciate those who appreciate you.)

In many ways, it comes down to the simple equation of input vs. output. Treat your body well, enjoy it while you can, and it will last longer. Abuse it, and say "buh-bye" to your youth long before you're ready.

Oh, and by the way, don't call me a "cougar", either! Hate that women over the age of *cough, cough* who still look good have to be labeled as predatory felines. Geesh. Bite me, already. Or maybe I'll bite you, and throw in a claw mark or two while I'm at it. I can do that, and I don't need fake nails to do it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Love Me Some Fireworks

Every year my town throws its own version of Mardi Gras, Florida style, by hosting the annual pirate invasion festival known as Gasparilla.

It's a week-long extravaganza, with at least three street parades, a recreated pirate invasion (swashbuckler style) involving thousands of boats, an airshow, fireworks, charity events, street parties, and general craziness. It's not uncommon right now to walk through my neighborhood and see a giant flag on someone's front porch that says "Arrggghhh! Surrender the booty!"

Why we celebrate being invaded by pirates, I'll never know, but it's fun. :-) Gasparilla begins today for the kids with the Gasparilla Children's parade (the week starts out gently and gets crazier), which will be held not too far from my house. While I'm not going to the parade, I'll be able to stand outside and see the airshow, and tonight my husband and I will walk down to the water to see my favorite part of Gasparilla, the free fireworks.

It'll be fun. Fireworks in the the sky, music in the air, sea breeze in my face. Life is good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dweller - A "Monster Bromance" by Jeff Strand

My friend Jeff Strand writes horror novels - sometimes with a comedic twist, sometimes not, leaving his style to perhaps best be described as a blend of a Stephen King and Christopher Moore, who maybe met and adopted a psychopathic baby with a reddish moustache and goatee. (C'mon, wouldn't you be twisted if you were the adopted love child of Stephen King and Christopher Moore?)

DISCLAIMER: I am not saying that Jeff actually IS the adopted love child of Stephen King and Christopher Moore. I'm saying that Jeff is, in theory, LIKE the adopted love child of Stephen King and Christopher Moore might be, if such an adopted love child existed.

Anyway, last week I got an email from Jeff with the attention grabbing title of "I'M NOT RIPPING YOU OFF!", and opened it to find that he was indeed doing just that. (I expected no different, and admire him for his initiative.) Jeff had fulfilled a life-long dream (or at least a two week dream, give or take a week) by corresponding with another delightfully creative whacko, Trevor Strong of The Arrogant Worms, who wrote and performed a catchy little tune for Jeff's latest novel, DWELLER. To prove I had no hard feelings for the festering feelings of jealousy that drove Jeff to try and duplicate the coolness of DEAD GIRLS ARE EASY by The 69 Eyes, I decided to dust off my movie maker skills, add some visuals to the mix, and created this book trailer for DWELLER (which, by the way, has his full approval, and he is now using as his "official" book trailer, so it's not like I'm a meanie or anything):

I think it turned out pretty good, but now just TRY and get that song out of your head! If you can't, just go ahead and buy the book when it comes out in April, and maybe the voices inside your head will go away.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The 69 Eyes on Swedish TV - Never Say Die

Ok, ok, so I have the Helsinki Vampires on the brain (best of luck on the latest European tour, guys!), but all you have to do is watch this video of them performing live on Swedish TV Wednesday morning to see why (have to sit through a Swedish commercial first, though, sorry!):

An old-school-cool and new-school-show-you-how-it's done, 110% performance from each and every one of them. I heart rock n' roll, 69 Eyes style!

Silent Night, Haunted Night Voted One of the "Top Ten Books of 2009"

Pop Syndicate is a cool pop culture review site, filled with variety: a multitude of reviews and podcasts about books, movies, TV shows, music - everything popular, everything modern, with some cult classics, anime and manga thrown in.

Their most recent review of Silent Night, Haunted Night was one of my favorites (a very insightful review that went deeper than most, which every author loves!). It was icing on the cake to learn that I'd been voted as one of the top ten books reviewed by the site in 2009!

I'm flattered to be in the company of these other nine authors and their work:

Child of Fire by Harry Connolly
Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz
Prime by Nate Kenyon
Gotcha! by Christie Craig
Darker Angels by M.L.N. Hanover
Enter Evil by Linda Ladd
The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers by Angie Fox
The Fireside Cookbook by James Beard
Living Trust Advisor by Jeffrey L. Condon

Congratulations to you all, and thanks, Pop Syndicate!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Final Word On E-Piracy

I've yet to read one of David Hewson's books, but I admire him a great deal for the public stance he's taken on the subject of illegal file downloading. Already ordered a couple of his books, in fact, simply because they not only look intriguing, but because he's an intelligent guy, and I assume intelligent published authors write intelligent books. If anything, he's too intelligent, and because of that, I fear much of what he's pointing out will be missed, so I'm reiterating it here.

He began by talking about e-piracy itself, but took it one step further by making an insightful point about e-piracy in his blog about how e-piracy sites are ad-driven, which means the noble file hackers who ignore the rules and upload files to the web for the "benefit of their fellow men who can't afford it" are actually making money off the misguided Internet shoplifters who frequent their sites.

How does it feel to be taken advantage of, book/movie/music thieves? You're nothing more than a pawn in the empiralistic world of consumerism, being lured to a site by a trial of breadcrumbs, falling prey to the oldest scam in the book, that of "something for nothing". (Oh, please don't start leaving me comments telling me that you've never once clicked on an online forum ad...)

At any rate, the excuses for e-book piracy seem to boil down to:

"I share stolen files out of the goodness of my heart, for the benefit of my online friends."
"I do it because these are books I would never have bought anyway."
"I do it because I can't afford to do otherwise."
"I do it because I want to know if I'll like it before I spend money on it."

Hm. I guess when I stole a balloon as a child I should've said, "But if I hadn't stolen it, the world would never have possibly/maybe/sort of/theoretically enjoyed that balloon!"

And all would've been well with the world, because hey... who needs to learn the difference between right and wrong in this day and age, anyway?

(For you literal nerd-types, I meant that sarcastically. )

And here's my final point: I'm going to read David Hewson's books not because I got them for free, but because I read something about him that I liked, and in that, I found some commonality. We agree on book piracy, and his books look interesting. We are strangers, yet sympatico.

You people out there who want my books for free after I've worked so hard on them and my publisher has invested money in them? We are not sympatico. We have nothing in common. Don't bother to download my books, because you won't like them.

We have no commonality.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Lamest Excuse for E-Piracy I've Ever Heard

If you've read my previous blog on this subject, or any other author's blogs, or excellent articles like this one or this one or that one, you may have heard that ebook piracy has become a major problem for authors. We, and our publishers, lose many thousands of dollars in revenues from books sales every year, because our books (even those that are already available as low-price ebooks for Kindle, Sony Reader, or Nook) are being illegally converted to downloadable format and distributed for free all over the Internet. What this means is we (and our publishers) can either spend tons of time and effort to send "take down" letters to these file-sharing sites threatening them with legal action (which is kind of like squashing cockroaches - as soon as you crush one, another pops up, and for every five you see, there are probably another five hundred hiding inside your wall), or we can ignore them, and freely allow ourselves to be exploited.

Well, this past weekend I received yet another Google Alert of yet another illegal download of ALL FOUR of my books, so instead of simply reporting them to my publisher's legal department, I took the time to speak up publicly on the file-sharing site's forum about how I felt about what was happening.

I thought it might be fun to share with my readers the reaction I got when I did. :-)

Here's my first comment, in reply to the posting of the illegal downloads:

I hate to be a drag, but my books are not freeware. This is stealing. If you like my books enough to read them, you should pay for them (the Kindle/Sony/Nook versions are very inexpensive).

Why? Because pirated downloads like these not only take money directly from my pocket, but they do not count toward my "publisher-recognized" sales, and if they don't know my books are selling, they're not going to pay me to write more.

Boom. No more books by Terri Garey, or any of the other authors you might like but download for free because you think it's okay.

Tell me this - would you work for a year (or more) for free? Because that's how long it takes to write a book.

Terri Garey (the author)
Apparently, hackers are not used to actually being called on their hacker-ism, and I wasn't believed, as evidenced by this response:
OOOOOpppppppsssss !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this does beg the question, is this an early april fools day trick by or, what is dear ms garey looking 4 on this forum ?
To which I responded:
Ms. Garey has a Google alert set up to notify her when her books are being pirated for free on the Internet. She usually just reports sites like these to her publisher without speaking up publicly, but she's pretty darn tired of dealing with ebook piracy, so tonight, she decided to speak up. In third person, even.

Terri Garey (the author)

(So what do you do for a living? Feel like doing it for free for the benefit of your Internet friends, like those in this forum? If so, you're a better man/woman than me.)
Strangely enough (or perhaps not strangely at all), it turns out that guy who questioned my response was one of the forum administrators who routinely posts these illegal downloadable files. Here is his completely lame and laughable response, in which he basically says that he does it out of the good of his heart, and that no one bothers to download them anyway. (So, um... like WHY DO YOU DO IT THEN?), and then turns me over to one of the other administrators to be "dealt with". (*Note* "d/l" stands for "download"):
i do it for free, converting ebooks for my internet friends. lot of noise at the moment while the publishers realise there is no place for them anymore, they are going to lose all those profits. but in reality the dl's don't justify the noise. just look at how many times ur posts are d/led, not viewed, but d/led. not many and this forum has a high number in comparison to some. most people don't know or are too scared to d/l from a forum. hell who cares as long as we enjoy our selves and the viewers keep coming.

have a great week andree, i'm off to the beach for a day or so, you can "deal" w/Terri.
By the way, the way I was then "dealt with" was by being blocked from the forum. LOL! Bad author! How dare you speak up for yourself?!

Anyway, one final comment before I step down from my soapbox: Downloading books for free instead of paying for them hurts the reader just as much as the writer in the long run. Publishers will not continue to pay authors for books if they can't make money on them. Your pool of quality reading material will shrink to next to nothing, because the good authors will still expect to be paid for their work. (You think Stephen King or Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling are going to start writing for free?)

What about Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Yasmine Galenorn, Jeaniene Frost, Larissa Ione or any of your other favorite Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance authors? If no one is willing to pay for their books, why should they bother to write them?

Think about that.