The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Category: Pop Culture Page 3 of 5

Friday Five – Thankfulness

I hope all of my readers here in the States had a happy Thanksgiving. I put so much food in my belly yesterday, I’m surprised I didn’t explode. I really thought I might at one point. Even though the holiday is over for another year and practically everyone I know has moved on to doing their Christmas shopping and putting up their trees and lights and whatnot, I thought I’d use my Friday Five to list a few of the many things for which I’m truly thankful.

1. My husband. We have our share of disagreements and times when we’re each just plain disagreeable, but the vast majority of the time, we truly enjoy each other’s company–which is a good thing, considering we both work at home and are up in each other’s business 24/7. But the rare times that we do spend apart, we miss each other and prefer to spend our time together. What can I say? He’s my best friend. We’ve traveled some really rocky ground together over the last few years, really testing out that whole “for worse” part, and it’s only made us closer and stronger. He always comes through for me, and I feel like I can face just about anything as long as I know he’s got my back. I love that man o’ mine, and I couldn’t be more grateful that he’s part of my life.

2. My mom. I’m so thankful that she’s here, and that she’s healthy, and I pray that she’ll stay that way for many, many more years. I’m thankful for all of our family and friends, and that each and every one of them is in relatively good health, and I’m thankful that everyone still lives close enough that we can gather together on the holidays.

3. My “frans” — my friends who are also fans of my work. They support me every way they can and help evangelize my work. They cheer me on and don’t let me get away with doubting myself or my abilities, something that I need way more often than I’d like to admit.

4. My dog. Of course I love all of our four-legged kids — we also have three cats and a box turtle — but our chihuahua, Pete, is such a little delight. His personality is about a hundred times bigger than his size, and he tends to be hilarious, not to mention so cute it hurts. In a lot of ways, he’s so childlike, and he goes a long way toward filling that particular void in our lives.

5. The talent God gave me. Without it… actually, if I didn’t have creative talent, I’d probably have an easier life. I would have made sure to get a practical degree in college, and I’d probably have a good job, and I’d put in my eight hours and then come home and watch TV or read and I’d be satisfied and so much less exhausted. And yet, I would still rather have the ability to spin stories out of whole cloth and write them down and occasionally have people tell me how my stories touched them, or made them just a little happier for a moment, or helped them through a rough patch. I am, quite honestly, terrible at speaking my thoughts, which makes me entirely grateful for the ability to write them down coherently. Also, having a writer’s imagination is a wonderful cure for boredom that I always have with me. So yes–I am tremendously thankful that God made me a writer.

What are you thankful for, dear reader? And did you have a good Thanksgiving?

Dominion of the Damned on IndieGoGo – Put a Cover On It!

IndieGoGo… IndieGoGo… IndieGo! Go! Go-oooh! (cue Japanese Speed Racer theme…)

So I’ve mentioned here previously that I was planning to do a Kickstarter campaign to generate the funds I need to finalize my book cover, and also just to learn about the process so I can help other authors get it figured out. But after doing more research, I decided instead to go with Kickstarter’s slightly less popular little sister, IndieGoGo, for two major reasons:

Reason the first: IndieGoGo has a flexible funding account which lets you keep whatever funds you’re pledged, regardless of whether you meet your goal; whereas with Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing — your project has to be fully-funded, else you don’t get any money, and those who contributed don’t get their perks. That’s fine and dandy for some projects, but for what I’m doing with this particular campaign — pre-selling copies of my book — I don’t want my readers to not be able to get their books early just because I couldn’t find $500’s worth of people willing to pre-order ($500 is the minimum funding goal that it will allow you to set). This way, anyone who orders gets their books, and I get paid regardless of how many people order early, and everybody’s happy. The fees on a flex-funding campaign are a bit higher if you don’t make your funding goal (9% as opposed to 4%), but that seems like a pretty small cost for a pretty big benefit.

Reason the second: IndieGoGo lets you route your payments through Paypal, whereas Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments, which I’m really not a big fan of. Amazon Payments tends to hold your money in escrow for a while before releasing it to your bank, which, if you need to raise funds quickly, kind of defeats the purpose. I need access to the funds for my cover ASAP if I’m going to finish in time to get the book out in time for Christmas shopping. Also, Paypal is already hooked up to my accounting software and is just darn convenient.

At some point I’ll do a more in-depth post about what was involved in setting up the campaign. In the mean time, you can check it out (and help me spread the word! …please?) here, and watch my campaign video (which was going to feature me talking, complete with makeup and styled hair, but since my computer decided to stop detecting the existence of my webcam, I had to go a different direction) below.

Friday Five – Get Your Steam(Punk) On

Steampunk Nerf Weaponry : The Girl, The Guns : 5I’ve been poking around the corners of the web lately, trying to become more familiar with the steampunk genre in preparation for writing my next novel, Radium Town. Of course, being a nerd who lives on the Internet, I’m fairly well acquainted with steampunk already–and you probably are, too, you just don’t realize that the genre itself is fairly old. It’s the rise in popularity and cosplay and what have you that are relatively new.

At any rate, I’ve stumbled across a few steampunk-related links that I want to remember, so I thought I’d share them with you this week.

Keys On the Typewriter: Steampunk 101 is a good overview of the genre, its history and evolution, its tropes and conventions, and it’s growing appeal. If you think you’re clueless about steampunk, this is a good place to start cluing yourself in.

American Cultural History 1890-1899 (and also 1900-1909) is an excellent reference resource for the time period my story will be set in. It includes sections for each decade on things like Art & Architecture, Fads & Fashion, Historic Events and People & Personalities. This should come in really handy for world-building and grounding my alternate-reality setting in history and realism.

Steam Circus doesn’t really have anything to do with my novel–I just find I’m digging the whole steampunk aesthetic, and since I haven’t been to a con in over 8 years and even if I did attend them regularly, I probably wouldn’t have the nerve to participate in full-on cosplay, I figure the best way to integrate a little steam into my wardrobe is with steampunk-inspired jewelry. This site has some such jewelry that is downright gorgeous, as well as other accessories that would work either as part of a costume or for a more subtle approach.

And speaking of real-world steampunk fashion, Minnie Zephie’s Steampunk Treasure Trunk chronicles her pursuit of same — attempting to integrate a subtle steampunk aesthetic into her every day wardrobe without crossing the line into costume-wearing. I really like this idea, and I think it’s something I could pull off. I feel like as I look ahead in my author career to potentially attending cons, signings and other writer events, I need to start paying a little more attention to my style and image and elevate it a few (dozen) steps above “yoga/pajama/workout pants and a tee-shirt most days and put on jeans on the rare occasions that I leave the house.” Anyway, I’ve always liked the neo-Victorian classical look, and I really like the edge that the steampunk elements give it.

And if I want to go a little less subtle, I can always whip up one of the AMAZING steampunk-inspired knit patterns from The Ladies of Mischief. This site is giving me SUCH a hankering to run to my local yarn shop and plunk down about a hundred dollars on some quality yarn so I can make these projects. LOVE the bloomers! And the corset! And… and… all of it! Love! Except, sadly, I don’t have a hundred dollars to spend on good yarn and I barely have time to knit these days. But it is bookmarked, and some day, my pretties, just you wait.

Friday Five: TV Vampires

Between yesterday being Bram Stoker’s birthday, and me being thisclose to finishing revisions on my vampire/zombie novel, it seems appropriate for this week’s Friday Five to count down my Top Five Vampires of the small screen (but sorry, Mr. Stoker, Dracula didn’t make the cut).

I have a confession – I haven’t seen True Blood or Vampire Diaries, and the little bit I have seen of Twilight kind of made me want to find Stephanie Meyer and kick her in the shins. Which is kind of irrelevant, since this is about TV vampires, but it still bears mentioning. For me, the Buffyverse was pretty much the pinnacle of my vampire fandom, and it pretty much ruined all other vampires for me. Nevertheless, although this list could easily consist entirely of the Fearsome Foursome plus Harmony, I’ve limited my choices to only three Buffyverse vampires. I’m sure it surprises nobody that they top my list.

1. Spike – Has there ever been a redemption arc as compelling or heart-breaking as Spike’s evolution from bad boy Slayer arch-nemesis to lovesick anti-hero to full-fledged noble hero? I think not. And in all of his incarnations, Spike managed to be equal parts dead sexy and hilarious. HE is the one who ruined me for all other vampires. They just don’t make ’em like Spike anymore.

Friday Five: Five Scariest Film Monsters (Blog Hop)

I’m combining the introduction of a new regular feature with the advent of Halloween and the upcoming Blog Hop I’ll be joining in next week.  Introducing my Friday Five — which I know is not a new concept, but instead of five random things from the week, I’ll be posting my top (or, occasionally, bottom) five list for a given category.

This week’s category? In the spirit of Halloween, I give you my Top Five Scariest Film* Monsters:

*I’m using the term “film” loosely to include both movies and television, and even YouTube. Why? Because Marble Hornets.

Five: The Gentlemen (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Hush”) – They have faces like grinning skulls, they float along with their creepy, straight-jacketed henchmen who look like something out of Silent Hill, they steal everyone’s voices, and oh, did I mention that they come into your room and hold you down and cut out your heart and you can’t scream because of the whole stolen voices thing? Easily the scariest demons from all seven seasons of Buffy.

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

The long wait between new updates for Marble Hornets left me flailing about a few Sundays ago, scouring Youtube for a Slender Man fix (but not yet willing to commit to one of the other Slender Man series, because the last thing I needed was another thing to obsess over and eat up all my time). And somehow I landed on The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, which A) has nothing to do with Slender Man and B) instantly became a new thing to obsess over and eat up all my time.

Hi there, irony! Won’t you have a seat?

Something always happens with me this time of year. We get into the dog days of summer, and the weather is nasty hot, and I start yearning for fall like whoa. And then I start craving good ghost stories, because they put me in mind of Halloween and my favorite month of the year. So it’s no wonder that when I stumbled onto this little gem of a vlog about a teenage girl and her mom and the scary, paranormal goings-on in their house, it really hit the spot, and suddenly I couldn’t get enough.

The series is broken up into “seasons,” each with its own story arc. Like any show, some seasons are better than others, but they’re all pretty entertaining.  The current season (which I believe is the sixth or seventh) seems to be struggling a little to find its way, especially in the wake of a rather disappointing end to the prior season’s plot line, which was building to a pretty cool climax that would have taken the show into a really interesting direction before it suddenly got dropped in rather anti-climactic fashion. I can only guess that the direction they were headed in would have outstripped their budget and resources, so they had to re-think a few things. But regardless, Sunshine Girl remains entertaining, primarily because at it’s core it’s about the mother-daughter relationship and how they stick together to weather all the weirdness in their lives; and besides, the sometimes erratic storytelling fits better with the conceit that this is a reality vlog about real people experiencing real hauntings.

But it is, in fact, a work of fiction, despite the many, many YouTube commenters who insist it’s all real and will cut you if you dare to suggest otherwise. The brainchild of Coat Tale Productions, they set out to make Sunshine Girl a sort of Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity, and I think they’ve succeeded quite nicely. I think part of what makes it work so well is it’s rather unique nature as a blend of fiction and reality. The hauntings and situations are made up and plotted out in advance and the characters are played by actors, but the dialogue is entirely unscripted; the mother and daughter are such in real life and are basically playing themselves, so all that chemistry between them is real.

So is it scary?  Sometimes. I’d say not as deeply unsettling as Marble Hornets, but there are some genuinely creepy moments that might come back to haunt you when you’re lying in the dark. Otherwise, it’s good, clean fun, and its star, the bubbly Sunshine Girl, is about as engaging and charming a heroine as you’re likely to find.

Cabin In the Woods

This will be short, because there’s not really a whole lot you can say about this movie without spoiling it. But Husband and I celebrated Independence Day by finally catching this movie at the second-run theater before we missed our chance to see it on the big screen, and I’m glad we did. It’s gotten a lot of hype, both from Whedon fans and non, and it did not disappoint. Y’all, this movie is awesome.

Is it scary? Yes. Well, if you’re like me and you grew up on a steady diet of slasher flicks and are pretty much inured to the genre, then it’s more fun than scary. But if scary movies actually scare you, then there’s a good bet that this one will, because it plays the horror parts straight. I went in expecting over the top jokey horror a la Evil Dead 2, and although there is some of that, I was delightfully surprised at the parts of it that were straight up horror movie. If you are the sort who is bothered by that type of gorey slasher horror, then I’m hesitant to recommend this movie to you — although I’m also tempted to say that if you can at all stand it, then it’s completely worth it, because the last act takes a turn that is purely Whedonesque and fifty shades of awesome.

Of course, I can’t tell you what that is without ruining the whole premise of the movie. And so, naturally, I will do it behind a cut.

Ehrrrmagrrrrd, you guys, Marble Hornets

I’ve got a new obsession, folks, and it’s taken me by surprise — if you had described this little Youtube series to me a few weeks ago and told me that I shouldn’t watch it because I would spend my days obsessively refreshing all of the relevant sites for updates and reading fan blogs and Tumblrs and what have you (and spending my nights being terrified of every dark corner…) I would have scoffed. And then I probably would have watched it anyway and been right where I am now.

The Dresden Files: Ghost Story

Dresden Files Ghost Story

I FINALLY read this book (seriously, y’all, sometimes I almost want to quit writing just so I’ll have more time in my life for reading, which is not easy to come by as it is). It was an enjoyable read, as always, with lots of tugging at the heart strings and wanting to give Harry a big ol’ hug. The ending was pretty much exactly what I expected, although I kept wondering throughout the book how it was going to end up there, and although unsurprising it definitely set up some interesting dynamics for the continuation of the series. I don’t really have anything to add by way of review, just some fan-girl babble that I will place behind a cut because it is somewhat spoilery and also, fan-girl babble.

Chosen

No, not to be the one girl in all the world with the strength and skill blah blah blah. Although that would be nifty. But it seems that we’ve been selected to become a Nielsen household.

You guys. Seriously? Why–and I ask again, WHY?!–could this not have happened a decade ago? You know, back when I was obsessed with TV? And my obsessions usually ran toward obscure SF-nal shows that were always in danger of cancellation, or simply doomed from the beginning? Why does it have to happen now, when I can take or leave most of what’s on the air and every now and then I actually seriously pondering giving up television entirely? When we don’t even have cable and most of what we watch is online, and only really use the TV to watch local programming or DVDs? WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU MATTERED TO MY LIFE, NIELSEN COMPANY?

Sigh.

So, we’re debating whether to do it. And if we do, we probably won’t admit it, because we don’t want to be getting obsessive e-mails from fans of bubble shows pleading with us to watch it. Although, I’m sure we could find a way to exploit that sort of thing, if we were all exploitative and stuff, but we’re not, really, so never mind. Nevertheless, it seems to require a time commitment that neither of us are really able to make. And neither of us are keen on having their tracking software hooked up to our PCs. Not that we have anything to hide, it just seems a little creepy. And if we have to fill out weekly diaries instead… like I said, who has time for that?

I was surprised to find the packet on our door informing us that we’ve been selected. They sent us a survey a few months ago, but we never got around to filling it out, and so assumed that we’d missed our chance. We still have to call the number on the card to find out exactly what’s involved and what would be required of us. Of course, phone-o-phobes that we both are, we’re debating whether even that much is worth our while. But I think we should probably call and have all the facts before we make our decision.

I just can’t get over how much this would have been a dream come true if it had happened when Joss Whedon was still doing TV.

Page 3 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén