Been a long cold winter with too many hours spent in front of my computer monitor seeking distraction and entertainment. However, I did find a few items worth mentioning and figured I’d pass them on.
The incredible true story of Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a Hamas founder, and top secret informant for Israeli intelligence for more than ten years. The movie also features his main handler, Gonen Ben Yitzhak, and chronicles their unlikely alliance and friendship during the violence of the first Intifada. I won’t spoil it, but it is a gripping, well-produced and fascinating documentary well worth your time.
2. Blue Ruin
Free on Netflix, this smoldering, stripped down revenge flick was actually Kickstarted to life on the screen. To describe it as a straightforward revenge-type flick doesn’t do justice to the realistic portrayals, the lean, taut writing, the rock solid characterizations. No glamor, snarky one-liners, or trite rationalizations, this is a bloody straight-edge razor of tragedy, confusion, and the mess of vindictiveness and retribution. Worth it but be prepared.
3. Black Mirror
Called the Twilight Zone for the Facebook and Twitter generation, this is another Netflix find. Essentially a ’15 minutes into the future,’ kind of sci-fi, Black Mirror extrapolates and toys with the effects of rapidly advancing technology on the social media generation. The title is apt; it does indeed reflect the darker side of human nature. After watching several episodes, I was both jealous and horrified at the brilliant and terribly plausible scenarios. British-produced, it has the usual deliciously understated acting and polished script. Be warned however, this show is blunt and handles mature themes. It somehow manages to be explicit without being graphic, but there are some very difficult moments.
And there you go. Have an excellent weekend.
I know folks are busy, but could a couple of you break the ice and fire off reviews for the Shift Tense compilation? Short and sweet will do it. Anything to let potential readers know it’s being/been read. The other three combined had 30 or so, and it would be cool to start the ball rolling for this edition.
Thanks much. Have an excellent day.
Finishing up “Under Strange Stars” but wanted to let folks know my short piece ‘Sozo’ will be FREE at Amazon this weekend. So it’s yours for nothing if you want it.
ps – speaking of Amazon, I had to buy replacement keyboard stick-on letters for my computer, I’ve worn down so many keys.
That’s a good problem, right?
Had one of those recurring writerly conversations about my “intended audience”, and realized I make several assumptions about them:
1. They aren’t necessarily Christian.
Or if they are, they probably aren’t your typical ‘Evangelical’. Said it before: I don’t write Christian stories as much as stories with Christianity in them. It’s on the table for sure, but the plot doesn’t take you by the nose. There are a lot of people who have given up on religion but not necessarily on God. In my fiction, I demand any faith/spirituality be organic to the characters or storyline. Otherwise, it’s little more that religious propaganda.
2. They can swim
Sci Fi, Fantasy, Horror/Supernatural, they are genre-savvy. I don’t need to start them in the kiddie pool and lead them slowly deeper into Spec-Fiction with constant reassurances and explanations. They been here before. They get it. I won’t waste their time or intelligence with remedials.
3. They are detectives
Or archeologists, if you disdain the crime-scene analogy. They can hold things in abeyance. They are willing to excavate, assemble clues and piece things together. They’re smart like that. My job is to make sure the clues and cues and authenticating details are present and internally consistent.
4. Sizzle ain’t steak
Which isn’t to say they don’t want to be entertained. They do – that’s mostly what fiction is about. However, they prefer a story have substance, to be rooted in real-world struggles, facts, or perspectives. Even if they are different or challenging. The movies Avatar and District 9 came out around the same time. Give me D9 any day, all day long.
So there they are. I know what they say about assuming, but I think I’m erring on the better side in this instance.
Have a great day.
Kind words from Mr. Alderman about ‘Sozo’.
Originally posted on David N. Alderman:
Sozo, by Patrick Todoroff, is the story of Booker, an ex-marine suffering from PTSD. When he’s recruited to do a job for some shady folks, his suspicions that he may be walking into more than he bargained for try to deter him from following through, but he ignores his moral compass at first, succumbing to the numbness that years of violence have brought him.
After reading this story and Patrick’s other short tale, The Barrow Lover, I’ve come to realize that I really enjoy Patrick’s writing style. Many of Sozo’s sentences are short, snappy, and to the point. Patrick’s writing gives you just enough detail to see the world he wants you to see without holding your hand through it. Characters come to life through a gritty, non-apologetic lens, and the story bleeds off the page in a hell-driven cascade of bullets and memories.
Sozo is the…
View original 150 more words
The shift to Shift Tense is complete: all three novellas are now compiled in a single volume. Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement.
Apologies to you print book lovers; at present, my status as a writer combined with the reader demographic for spec-fiction doesn’t make it worth the extra ISBN, effort, and cost to do POD. If anything, it gives you late-adopters another reason to buy an IPad or Kindle.
Speaking of which…part one of both Running Black and Shift Tense are available in PDF here on the site. Scroll down past the Amazon links on the right sidebar, then click on the Incursion and/or Red Flags covers. Free stuff to give you a taste of the novels and my take on Biblical perspective spec-fiction. (notice I didn’t use the phrase ‘Christian fiction’) Hope you enjoy.
Next up: Clar1ty Wars, book 2: Under Strange Stars
I don’t talk about my disability much.
It might explain some things about me but it doesn’t define me. It’s not how I want to be identified. More because I’ve learned over the years self-pity is debilitating. It’s a vicious narcotic – something to stay the f**k away from.
That said, my life began waking up in ICU in a hospital bed with two people next to me. My first memory is trying to air-spell ‘Who are you?’ and ‘What happened?’ Turns out they were my Mom and Step-Dad. And I’d been hit by a car. I was seven years old.
Story went I had received a new bike – a cool one with tall handle bars, tassles, and a banana seat. Remember them? Well, a next door neighbor older kid wanted to ride it bad, real bad, shiny new that it was, so he said he’d ‘teach me how to go down hills.’ And off we went, him pedaling, me on the back. Next thing we were flying down the steepest, tallest hill in that part of Poughkeepsie. Apparently, at the bottom he saw the taxi coming, couldn’t stop, and jumped off. Leaving me on the back. To get hit by the taxi.
I ended up crumpled on someone’s front lawn.
Later it came out a nurse caring for an elderly patient in a nearby house heard the accident and called an ambulance. Don’t know her name and never even met her, but she’s the reason I can write this today. (‘Grace of God’ and all that, I know, but…) Paramedics arrived, gave me an emergency tracheotomy on the scene, and brought me into ICU in a coma – where I stayed for some days and a lot of operations. (in a coma, in the hospital)
I had to learn how to walk again. Talk again. Today I can’t walk all that well and I’ve been told I talk too much, so you decide how effective the rehab was.
Fact is I get being different. Self-conscious. Being ostracized, excluded, picked last, picked on, teased, mocked, misunderstood, underestimated, condescension… I don’t remember anything BA ‘Before Accident’, so those things have been part of my life as long as I can remember quite literally. As has the physical disabilities with attendant insecurity, pain, lack of mobility, and the inevitable deterioration that comes with wear and tear, and age.
I could go and talk about more recent surgeries, one where I hugged my kids the day before the operation knowing it might well be for the last time. But I’m not writing this to cry ‘Poor Me’ or catalog my struggles. I loathe the faux ‘high moral ground’ of victimhood. It’s an insidious mirage disguising nothing but quicksand. I can’t go there.
I’m writing to tell you it’s not what you can’t do that matters, it’s what you can do. That’s what counts. That’s what you’ve got to keep at, focus on, and do. It has taken me years to learn that in my bones. And only with God’s help.
Is it hard? Does it hurt? Do things backfire or fall flat? Do I feel like quitting, saying “F**k all y’all” sometimes?
But I can’t escape the cast-iron, cold hard fact that it’s true. Forward is really the only direction God has given us. You’ve got to get up and keep going.
And those other people? The critics, the nay-sayers, Job’s comforters? It’s mind over matter, baby: those that matter, don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter.
Today, I’m married to a beautiful woman, the same woman for 29 years. I have three adult children, three grandchildren, who I love with all my heart. I run a stained glass studio – have for 16 years. I’ve written books, plays, poems. I’ve had the privilege of leading ministries, even being an inner-city missionary in Canada for three years. And my life isn’t over.
So that’s a bit of my story. I don’t know the road you’ve got to walk. I might sympathize, empathize, but I can’t really know it, ’cause it’s yours.
But as a fellow traveler a bit further down the road, I can say ‘You can do this. Keep going’.
It’s worth it.
I have decided to compile the three previously published Shift Tense novellas – Red Flags, Soldier Dreams, and Angels - into a single volume. The serialization strategy did not work as intended and I believe a single novel will serve everyone better in the long run. I apologize for any hassle, misunderstanding, or bad feelings. It was never my intention to inconvenience or mislead anyone.
By way of compensation to anyone who has purchased one or two of the novellas, I am offering all three for free for the next five days, from Feb 12th through the 16th at Amazon. After February 17th however, Shift Tense will only be available in the single volume.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Here are the links: