Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wonder Woman Gets New Costume

Maybe it's more appropriate, but the long-standing look is gonna be missed if DC Comics stays with this.  Is this an adjustment to be more PC?  Is this a costume that will make the character easier to clothe for a Hollywood movie?

Dunno.  I kind of like the looks of it because it's different, but there's something about a half-clothed Amazon battling crime that still makes my heart beat fast.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Captain America Has Tommy Lee Jones

I was pumped when I found out Chris Evans (Human Torch, Fantastic Four) was also going to play Steve Rogers/Captain America.  Evans was totally cut in The Losers and will look fantastic in the suit.

Now Tommy Lee Jones is going to star as one of his commanding officers, probably back in World War II.  I can hardly wait to hear Tommy Lee doling out wisdom as a tough, no-nonsense Army officer.  This movie is getting me stoked.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Paul "Bish" Bishop Is On The Beat!

Many of you who enjoy the film noir books/movies I cover, or suspense thrillers, and just about anything else because the guy is as omnivorous as I am, it appears, would probably enjoy stopping by

I drop by regularly and have found a lot of material I would have missed if not for Paul's detective skills.  Keeping an eye on everything is a daunting job, but Paul Bish is a great wingman to have along the way.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Alan Wake Scares Pro Gamer!

Okay, I have to admit it.  This game has got some serious chops.  I've played it off and on this week, and I've gotten totally creeped out.  The atmosphere, the music, the story development -- all of that works to pull me into the fog-shrouded forest where Alan Wake has to fight off the Taken (shadow creatures with axes) with nothing more than a flashlight and (usually) a revolver.

I try to play an episode a night.  There are only six.  But I'm crushing a deadline and haven't had the time.  I'm on Episode Three right now, and I'm getting my butt slammed by a possessed bulldozer that reminds me a lot of the old Theodore Sturgeon short story "Killdozer!" that got made into a creepy Clint Walker film back in the 1970s.  The film was called Killdozer, and it was a trip.  It also got made into a Marvel Comics issue.

Theodore Sturgeon was only 25 or 26 when he wrote the story back in 1944, so I assume his Tonka toy phase hadn't quite worn off and had become incredibly twisted.  Now I'm getting flashbacks from my childhood.

This game has got me all twisted up.  On one hand, the Taken are so creepy that I dread when the sun goes down in the game.  On the other hand, the mysteries are so sharp and the stakes so high, that I have trouble walking away.

Last night with the possessed bulldozer, I finally had to lay the controller down and walk away because my spirit's willing but my adrenaline-addled flesh just couldn't save me on-screen.  My 12 year old has gotten farther than me, but even he has trouble staying in the same room with me when the game is on.  Not because it's boring, but because he knows all the spots the Taken will jump out and he gets creeped all over again.  I don't mind dying in the game.  Chandler doesn't like it.  But the Taken just trigger my fight/flight instinct like a four-alarm fire bell.

And there's downloadable content coming for this game!  It's not going to be over for some time.  This is one of the best games storywise I have ever seen.  I normally love first-person shooters the most, but I've never found a game as immersive as Alan Wake.

Try it.  I guarantee at some point you'll be sitting on the edge of your seat with creepy music playing all around you -- and you'll duck shadows on your way to bed.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On Writing Fiction

I've just started a new blog where I intend to discuss writing fiction and the processes that I use.  If you'd like to see what I'm doing, or have a question about writing, please go to

Friday, June 25, 2010

A SONG About Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME?

One of my Professional Writing students, Jaimie Dawn ( has written -- and performed -- a tribute to the first seven books of the Wheel of TIme series.  That's all she's been able to read so far.  She's also experimenting with embedded video, so you get visuals too.  Drop by her site and tell her what you think.  Without being mean.  And there are spoilers.  :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Enjoyed Memphis Beat and Knight & Day

I had a good time with both of these.  MEMPHIS BEAT felt a little rushed in some places, especially at the end, but the overall character development of the principal worked for me, and the music score was awesome.  I think the show's going to do fine once it gets its feet firmly on the ground.  Jason Lee is likeable as a cop and as an Elvis impersonator.  I didn't think he had the chops, but he does.  He's endearing in this role, edgy and still innocent, still a believer.

KNIGHT & DAY is an uneven blend of action thriller and romantic suspense.  It reminded me of ROMANCING THE STONE in some ways (primarily all good), but there was some development missing and sometimes the creative leaps were too big for the audience to fill in on short notice.  Outside of the two main characters, there was hardly any development at all, and even the two stars really only related to each other.  Still, it was totally fun and the stunts, one-liners, were awesome.

What did surprise me was how much crossover there was between MEMPHIS BEAT and KNIGHT & DAY.  The police captain on MEMPHIS was the CIA leader on KNIGHT, and both main male characters had the same mom.  Kind of weird watching them back to back like that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alan Wake Is Great Episodic Gaming

Summer is here and a lot of videogames are hitting the shelves.  I'd heard nothing but good things about ALAN WAKE since it came out last month.  My wife picked it up for me for Father's Day and I finally got my 12 year old off the 360 on Monday.

I haven't had much time for gaming even though it's summer and I'm not currently teaching at OU.  Last summer was eaten up with family issues (I ended up learning way more about roofing and installing new kitchens than I'd ever wanted to know).

I have dedicated this summer to my writing and am having a good time with the stories I'm currently working on.  God, I do love writing, creating, and watching characters.  Imagination is my favorite opiate.

Anyway, as a result I haven't been reading as much as I would like, or playing games at all.  But Monday I sat down with ALAN WAKE, and I have to say that it's one of the greatest games I've ever played.  The actual fighting isn't much different than many of the games I've played, but the SHEER CREEPINESS of the overall storyline is compelling.  Not only that, but the designers were geniuses because they broke the game into installments like episodes of a television series.

So far it's been my experience than the episodes play out in an hour or so (some people may get done more quickly, but I enjoying seeing what happens if I win AND if I lose in certain sequences -- you learn more about he game that way).  The time is perfect for when I want to vege out in the afternoon for an hour and then get back to the writing for the evening.

Not only that, but the game has the bonus feature of really juicing my imagination again.  I don't know where ALAN WAKE is headed for sure, but I'm having a blast with the journey.  I love the twists and turns, and the uncertainty of how things are progressing.

If you haven't played or picked up the game, I encourage you to do so.  It's one of the most innovative I've seen in a long time, and the natural stopping points are fantastic.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Memphis Beat Premieres on TNT Tonight!

I've been seeing the trailers for weeks.  Jason Lee as a cop?  From the town that gave us the King of Rock and Roll?  I'm already hooked.  :)

JUSTIFIED is finished for this year, but I'm hoping this one slides right in as a great replacement.  If not, I've still got BURN NOTICE and LEVERAGE.  Summer TV has started hitting the sweet spot for me.

And a behind the scenes peek:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Leverage Is Back!

Leverage is back and hit the ground running last night with two episodes.  They also introduced a season arc that looks interesting.  Thankfully it's not going to choke the kinds of stories they can tell.  When the first show gave us the femme fatale full of threats, I felt certain we were going to be locked in and constrained.  Not so.  The second show was a hoot, funny, witty, and touching.  Just the kind of thing I'm looking for in this show.

Even if you've never seen an episode of this show before, you can jump in anywhere and have a good time.

Knight and Day

This one stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, and it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.  Definitely a popcorn movie, but my wife and son are as excited to see this one as I am.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Phantom Tonight!

Folks, this is the Phantom I grew up with.  Lee Falk's incredible jungle hero who followed a 400 year pledge to battle evil, particularly pirates.  I thrilled to his adventures in the Sunday Comics when I was a kid, read the paperbacks when I was in high school, and have never quite got away from wanting to grow up to be him.

Now Syfy network has a new Phantom coming out, and I'm not sure I'm going to be happy with the results.  But it's Father's Day, so I'm gonna take the control in hand Sunday night and hope for the best.  :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bare Bones

This is just weird enough to be really disturbing, and it's one of those moments where you just go, what were they thinking?

Note the stiletto heels.  Go here for more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dark Valentine

I'm always glad to hear new magazines are starting up.  Just got contacted about this one and will be sending them something soon.  The layout of the magazine is wonderful.  Have a look here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Pulp Tee Shirts

They don't have true men's sizes.  *sigh*

But you can find out more info here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jake Cassidy, Recovery Agent

NEW PULP (here) is offering short e-novellas reasonably priced.  The project reminds me of the old Gold Medal novels I grew up on, and the books that Hard Case Crime is publishing and reprinting.

The first book has been pubbed at (here).

Jonah Hex, Pardnah! Six-Gun Vengeance!

Yep, I'm definitely saddling up for this one on Friday!  Yee-haw!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kasey Lansdale

Last weekend I went to SoonerCon to hang out with my buddy Joe Lansdale.  We hadn't seen each other in about four years or so.  We're guys, so things were pretty much the same and we're both busy with projects.  It was a great visit and I love talking to Joe.

But the thing that blew me away was his daughter, Kasey Lansdale.  She's blossomed into a beautiful young lady.  She's also a country and western singer, and I just kind of took that in stride and thought, Sure everybody's a country singer these days.

Neighbor, I'm here to tell you that Kasey is the real deal.  Her voice is pure and sweet and a delight to listen to.  I wouldn't have believed it.  I believe Joe about most things (except when I know he's pulling my leg), but I'd thought his good words about Kasey were simply a manifestation of parental pride.  Here's a presentation from Flickr.

I don't listen to country music.  I'm more of a blues guy.  Delbert McClinton and Bonnie Raitt rock my soul.

But Kasey has become a new favorite.

Check out her site for a preview of her music.  And just so you know, she's a professional songwriter for Nashville.  A legend in the making.  See her now.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Burn Notice and White Collar Are Coming Back, Baby!

The coolest ex-spy ever, the most dangerous girlfriend and the world, and the buddy most likely to steal your beer all return for season four tonight and I can't wait.  I found this crossover commercial featuring the characters from Burn Notice and White Collar (another show my wife and I like) and thought I'd share.