Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Duranalysis: Do You Believe in Shame?

Just that lately I’ve been so damn lonely when I think of you…

At long last! More Duranalysis! My original plan was to start tackling the Notorious-era videos—“Skin Trade” and “Meet El Presidente” along with the title track—but… well, look, nothing really happens in any of those videos, which makes them highly resistant to any attempt at in-depth quality Duranalyzing (“And then Christy Turlington wanders around while looking really pretty some more…”). So I’m speeding ahead to “Do You Believe In Shame?” off of the Big Thing album.

The video to “Do You Believe in Shame?” was directed in 1989 by celebrated auteur Chen Kaige, who, four years later, would receive the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Farewell My Concubine. It’s a gorgeous, evocative, melancholy video—a suitable accompaniment to a gorgeous, melancholy song.

It’s also a familiar song: The official writing credits on “Do You Believe in Shame?” were adjusted after Duran Duran lost a legal challenge that claimed it was too musically similar to the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit “Susie Q”. Which… yes, that legal decision makes sense, because the basic melody of “Do You Believe in Shame?” is pretty much identical to the melody of “Susie Q”. Not that anybody thinks Duran Duran set out to commit a random burst of plagiarism, but still, it would’ve been nice if a light bulb had gone off over somebody’s head at some point in the recording process: “Oi, mates, I think we just wrote ‘Susie Q’!”

Monday, July 21, 2014

#MyWritingProcess Blog Hop

Well, that’s typical. I just got through saying I don't like talking about my creative process, and in my very next post, here I am, yammering on about my creative process.

There’s a meme going around Twitter in which authors tag other authors; tagged authors must then post answers to a few brief questions about their work. You can read their responses by following the #MyWritingProcess hashtag on Twitter. Last week, author Salem Archer tagged me. Salem and I were both in competition for this year’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, me for Lonely Satellite, Salem for Moondance in Red. She first appeared on my radar after she delivered a cold, brilliant, discussion-ending smackdown on someone who was being a nitwit on a message board, which made me instantly realize this smart, cool lady was worth knowing. You can visit her author site here.

This is not the sort of thing I usually do here at Preppies. Ergo, to avoid alienating my core readership, my answers will be interspersed with pretty pictures of Duran Duran, which I have doctored in Photoshop for enhanced eighties appeal (also because I'm having a rough week, and I find Photoshop oddly soothing).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fun With Keywords: Eternal Pixie Edition

I suppose I should provide a belated ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) update: After two trips to the semifinals in previous years (Charlotte Dent in 2008, Bias Cut in 2012), I crashed and burned out of the quarterfinals this year with Lonely Satellite, thanks to an unrelentingly, mortifyingly, hilariously scathing Publishers Weekly review. The reviewer made it very clear he/she despised my protagonist, Laurie Sparks, which… I mean, obviously I have a knee-jerk distrust of anyone who dislikes Laurie, because Laurie is a delightful young nitwit, but it’s a valid opinion. Fair enough. Not my year to win ABNA. Best wishes and congratulations to the twenty-five extremely talented semi-finalists, five of whom will be receiving publishing contracts.

Ergh. Moving on. I’m in the middle of writing a new book, which pretty much owns my soul right now. I find nothing more insufferable than authors talking about their creative processes, so I’ll spare the details; suffice it to say I am eating/breathing/sleeping this book right now, and it’s turning me into a grouchy, monosyllabic slab of protoplasm during my non-writing hours. Thus, inevitably, site updates have fallen behind. I’ll continue to aim for weekly posts, but I will almost certainly come up short. In the meantime, I’m going to do another of my semi-regular examinations of some of the Google phrases people have used to locate this website over the past few months:

nick rhodes pixie
nick rhodes eternal pixie
Oh, yeah, you’re totally in the right place. Here’s a partial list of things to which I have compared Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes on this site: an eternal pixie, a magical pixie, a “moody little thing”, a supervillain in a Bond movie, a Muppet, a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, a long-running performance art exhibit, a goblin king, a corpse bride, a malevolent gremlin, a baby ocelot, a glamorous show pony, and a pampered housecat. Nick is, as always, my guiding star and my role model in life.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

G.I. Joe: “Skeletons in the Closet”

Every summer, content tends to get a little sporadic and sketchy around these parts. I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep up weekly posts until fresh episodes of Arrow return in the fall, though I warn you, the topics are probably going to be pretty random and self-amusing. Since it worked out pretty well last time, let’s take a look at another fabulous episode of the classic mid-eighties G.I. Joe cartoon, shall we? Here we have “Skeletons in the Closet”, a thrilling saga of retribution, espionage, ghosts, ancient cults, mystical creatures, and weird yet heartfelt attempts at Scottish brogues.

During a failed Cobra operation, the Baroness catches Destro canoodling in the bushes with a sexy blonde Cobra underling. Because the Baroness is awesomeness personified, she outwardly shrugs off Destro’s chronic infidelity, preferring instead to quietly plot terrible, elaborate vengeance against him.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Laurie Sparks is a doll.

More whimsy over at the website for my publishing company, Luft Books: I've designed a series of paper dolls featuring Laurie Sparks, the flashy and stylish young hero of my books BIAS CUT and LONELY SATELLITE, complete with some of his more memorable outfits. Download them, cut them out, mix and match his wardrobe and accessories. Fun for all ages!

The dolls are here. And if you haven't read BIAS CUT (2013 IPPY winner, 2012 ABNA semi-finalist) or LONELY SATELLITE (2014 ABNA quarter-finalist) yet, consider giving them a look. Both are available as trade paperbacks or as Kindle-formatted ebooks.

BIAS CUT at Amazon

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hey, let's take a quiz!

This is fun. I promise!

Over at the website for my publishing company, Luft Books, I've created a quick ten-question Buzzfeedesque quiz designed to help match up readers with Luft titles, based upon personality, predilections, and pop-culture tastes. It is all very, very scientific, and I think I showed admirable restraint in only making a scant one-tenth of the questions about Duran Duran. (Fun fact: Every single Duran Duran fan who has taken the quiz thus far has ended up with Bias Cut. This is probably not a coincidence.)

Give it a try here, and then let me know your results.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Arrow 2-23: “Unthinkable”

Roy comes out of his coma just as Slade’s super-powered minions storm the clock tower. He promptly gets pummeled by one of the goons, which proves pretty decisively that the cure has worked on him. Nice to have you back, Roy. I’ve missed those giddy pre-mirakuru days when all of his fights would end with him getting his pert Abercrombie-model ass handed to him by miscreants. Oliver, Felicity, Diggle and Roy flee from the tower, just as Lyla Michaels zooms by in an A.R.G.U.S. chopper and blows it to bits with a rocket launcher.

They regroup at the now-destroyed lair beneath Verdant. While Felicity and Roy scrounge for injection arrows to fill with the mirakuru cure, Diggle heads off with Lyla to prevent Amanda Waller from blowing up Starling City with her drones. Roy has no memory of his madcap pre-coma escapades (getting kidnapped by Slade, going on a crazed rampage, killing a cop, beating up Sin, attacking Thea); Felicity lies and assures him he was unconscious the whole time. It’s probably a smart move for keeping Roy’s beautiful head in the game right now, though this bit of deception will almost certainly come back to bite them all in the future.