Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Door

“They say when God shuts a door, he opens a window.”

Lena tried not to snort derisively at the comment but it escaped her mouth anyway. She was about to ruin the nicest day out she’d had in a long time. She was dressed in actual clothes not covered in her son’s bodily fluids, she was bathed for once, and miracle upon miracles, she’d even brushed her teeth! That was as much of an oddity as being be out in the sunlight and drinking a cup of coffee was. Despite herself, she was about to eviscerate it all with a snicker.

“What?” Adriana was a friend, and she meant well but it was as if she hadn’t heard a word Lena had said. Lena poured her heart out, told this woman that she’d just signed a Do Not Resuscitate order on her own son, that, based on his failing condition, she might have to use it and soon. The best Adrianna could muster was a well-worn cliché.

“Nothing,” Lena said. “It’s just that from my personal experience, God hasn’t so much closed the door but slammed it in my face and if he sees fit to crack a window, I have to crowbar that sucker open and seize that opportunity, fighting tooth and nail to do so. I’ve been crawling through window glass trying to get what Jacob deserves, what I deserve and all I’ve gotten through that window is a lot of scrapes and cuts for my hassle.”

“You have more than that.” Adrianna stated. Lena shot her a look, getting up to leave angrily. “You have Jacob. No matter what he’s going through, at least you have him. That’s more than some of us ever get.” Lena heard the break in Adriana's voice and saw the forlorn look on her face. She stopped and sat back down, realizing she needed to listen instead of talk. 


This week's Trifecta Challenge:

This week's word is:


1: a usually swinging or sliding barrier by which an entry is closed and opened; also : a similar part of a piece of furniture
2: doorway
3: a means of access or participation : opportunity
The second I read the definition, this was the first thing I thought of.  Enjoy. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

3 Silly Questions with: Steven Luna

The very awesome Steven Luna, Author of the Joe Vampire book series, co-purveyor of the Dumb White Husband blog, witty twitter person, and all around cool guy has decided to indulge me by answering my three silly questions. 

Question 1: Did you have a favorite character to write/read when you’re rereading/reviewing Joe Vampire, other than Joe himself? I'm an author myself and when I reread my own book, I'm drawn to rereading certain characters. With your book, I was especially drawn to the Louise parts because she is Joe's fairy Vamp-mother and seems like a total hoot. I also loved Hube because he reminds me of my best friend, who can totally deliver the get-a-grip speech when needed. No choosing Bo! He's too easy.

Steven's Answer: Louise and Bo are awesome…they were a lot of fun to write. But I’d have to say Hube is without a doubt my favorite non-Joe character in the series. He’s the friend everyone should have: loyal to a fault, sensible and reassuring when things are at their most insane. More than this, though, I think I dig him because he provides Joe a connection to his own humanity - even when Joe resents him for it. He also provides me, as a writer, a vehicle through which to pose certain questions and aspects of Joe that Joe wouldn’t necessarily ask of himself…which is necessary, because 99% of the novel is Joe talking to the reader rather than the characters in the story. He can’t have the answers to all of his questions – or all of the questions, even – or he’d have nowhere to which he can progress. In that sense, Hube ends up representing some of the missing pieces of Joe, but in an entirely separate character. And really, because their interaction is so limited in the first book, I gave Hube a much more prominent position in THE AFTERLIFE so I could expand on their dynamic. Without spoiling too much, they switch spots, in a way; Joe matures a bit and becomes the more Hube-ish voice of reason, and Hube spins a little and becomes more self-centered and Joe-esque. And in THE NEW PARANORMAL, they both get an opportunity to grow as equal people within the greater Joe Vampire universe. 

Question 2: Let's talk about charities for a second. As everyone who has been to this site knows, my favorite is George Mark House. Here's your opportunity to talk about organizations that make your heart go aflutter and your skin get all goosebumpy with the happies. If you'd like, take a second to talk about a charity or organization that you support or you'd like to mention and why its important to you. 

 Steven's Answer: My family and friends been greatly affected by cancer in the last several years, so cancer charities always draw my support. I have a good friend named Lanette Veres, a long-term brain cancer survivor, who now devotes her life to assisting those afflicted with brain tumors, and helping their families. The work she does through her charity Gray Matters Foundation is pretty incredible. She provides personal support and guidance for so many people who might not know the first thing about dealing with such a huge situation. She becomes their angel. It’s really amazing.

And as a sort-of sideline to that, I recently participated (by shaving my head- and my eyebrows…) in a fundraiser for an organization called St. Baldrick’s. They raise money for research into treatments and cures for childhood cancers. An awesome dude by the name of Gui Eberhard heads up the team that I was part of. He puts a ton of heart into making the experience uplifting and positive every year. His energy and enthusiasm for the cause made the choice a total “Hell yes!” for me this time. I’m figuring on doing it again next year.

[Ed. Note]  The Gray Matters Foundation does sound pretty incredible and your friend Lanette sounds totally awesome! I'll probably throw a couple of bucks their way and grab up a t-shirt. Thanks for enlightning me about it Steven! Also, St. Baldrick's is totally worthwhile. My local Children's Hospital does a St. Baldricks fundraiser and it always seems like a fun and uplifting event. 

Question 3: This is important! You will be graded! What is your favorite character in the movie The Goonies and why? What that character choice says a lot about you as a person and I WILL judge you accordingly. (For example, if Mouth is your favorite character, I'm not sure we can be friends.)

Steven's Answer: I'd say my favorite Goonie is Short Round, because he totally kicked the zonkers out of those crazy child-slave drivers in that creepy-ass mine, and helped Indy save Steven Spielberg's wife from Mola Ram. No, wait - that's not the right movie, is it?

[Ed. Note]  Steven rather sheepishly admitted that he hasn't seen The Goonies in a very long time and didn't have a quote/unquote favorite, but he promises to remedy that oversight with a rewatch with his kids very shortly. "Hold on lady! We're going for a ride." is almost as good as "I'm wondering what is in that bag." in terms of awesome line reads by the ever awesome Jonathan Ke Quan so I shall let this answer stand.

About the Author

Steven Luna was relatively quiet when he was born; that all changed once he learned to speak. Now? Good luck getting him to shut up. He’s the author of JOE VAMPIRE and THE AFTERLIFE, the first two books in the JOE VAMPIRE THREELOGY. Book three, THE NEW PARANORMAL, is due in late summer 2013. 

Website: http://thestevenluna.wordpress.com

Twitter: @joevampireblog

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Casting Joe Vampire The Movie: A Compare and contrast

So forever and a day ago, I read the author of Joe Vampire Steven Luna's take on who he'd cast in the movie of his book, if ever it was to get cast. I think that post is what intrigued me enough to buy the book, because if there's one thing I love, it's trying to cast actors and actresses in movie adaptations of books I just read.

So I figured I'd compare and contrast who I have in my head for these characters and who Steven Luna had cast in the same roles and see what pans out.

Joe Vampire

Who Steven Chose: Joseph Gordon Levitt
Who I'd Choose: Jay Baruchel
Compare and Contrast: Don't get me wrong, I love me some Levitt and will cast him in just about everything, but I think this part requires a bit more of a schlubby every man. And after much deliberation, Jay occurred to me as that type of guy. I mean, he's Jewish, kind of plain but still utterly cute and adorable in his own way. For some reason as I was reading this, I had Ed Helms stuck in my head for this role, but when I realized the character was a bit younger, Jay Baruchel seemed like a logical fit. Just use his character in She's Out of Your League for the template and boom, instant Joe.


Who Steven Chose: Natalie Portman
Who I'd Choose: Katie Cassidy
Compare and Contrast: As Steven puts it, Chloe, as written is loosely defined. Esthetically she's just defined as a pretty girl. And Natalie Portman is a pretty girl, don't get me wrong, but she seems either too much of something or not enough of something else to really be Chloe in my head. But for some reason, Katie Cassidy popped up in my head when reading her. She's pretty in all the right ways but I think she'd got the mentality to play Chloe better. It must be the Supernatural connection, but I think she's a great fit.


Who Steven Chose: Andrew Garfield
Who I'd Choose: Andrew Garfield
Compare and Contrast: I really didn't have anybody envisioned for the role while reading it. I just couldn't quite picture him. Then I read Steven's idea and honestly, it's a pretty decent fit. Garfield would make a great Hube. Also Jesse Eisenberg would be a close second.


Who Steven Chose: James McAvoy
Who I'd Choose: Charlie Hunnam
Compare and Contrast: I love James McAvoy and have since probably Penelope, but he's not right for this part. I mean, be honest with yourself, who could you imagine getting a BJ from an elderly mouth hooker with more pizazz? McAvoy or Hunnam. I think Hunnam could throw himself into that role with glee. Also, I think Hunnam would look better in leather pants.


Who Steven Chose: Dianne Wiest
Who I'd Choose: Catherine O'hara
Compare and Contrast: Ok, at different times, I had about three different women cast in this role, the other two being Edie McClurg and Christine Willes, but Catherine O'hara won out, barely. I think it's the Beetlejuice connection, but O'hara seems perfectly suited to be a stately vampire of certain age. Dianne Wiest seems way too motherly for the job. Not that the role of Louise isn't motherly, but it's motherly from further away. There's always this professional distance between Louise and Joe and I think someone with a little more ice in her veins (Ha!) would be suited for the job. Although I'd still love McClurg in the role. Just picture McClurg with Vampire Fangs and tell me that wouldn't be an amazing casting choice. 

Nurse PonyPants

Who Steven Chose: Melissa McCarthy
Who I'd Choose: Melissa McCarthy
No compare and contrast needed. That character as written was a crack-up for the five seconds she was in the book and who better to walk in, chew some scenery and then walk out gloriously than Melissa McCarthy. If you need any further proof, I direct you to her cameo in GO as exhibits A-Z.


Who Steven Chose: Keira Knightly
Who I'd Choose: Mila Kunis
Compare and Contrast: I think Kunis is more prepared to go flirty and off-kilter than Keira is. Keira is little too cookie cutter for me. I mean, was I the only one who saw Domino? She's not as edgy and quirky as she thinks.


Who Steven Chose: John C. Reilly
Who I'd Choose: Danny McBride
Compare and Contrast: Really it's a wash. Both would be pretty damn good for the part, but I think McBride is little more southern-fried and physical for the role.


Who Steven Chose: Ryan Gosling
Who I'd Chose: Ryan Gosling
I hadn't really envisioned Lucas, but Ryan is a pretty good fit. He can go from charming to menacing in 0.38 seconds and this character does just that. The only thing I'm having trouble with is imagining Ryan in pseudo-Duran Duran get up. Not that he was in the get-up in the book, but that was one of the character quirks listed in the book, so I think it has to be there in the movie in some capacity.


He wasn't mentioned in Steven's casting, and he was barely in the book, but he's still and interesting role to try and cast.  He was such an odd, disheveled, lost character that he'd be so much fun to cast. Something about him reminded me of Richard Edson in his old school Ferris Bueller days, for some reason. But when I really thought about it, I think Ben Foster would be perfect for the part. Think about it. He plays really good screwed up characters and I think he could play sexually ambiguous enough to try and sway Joe Vampire into the dark side after one too many Sake Bombs. Just saying.

Well there you have it. Let the controversy commence.

We're all twelve year-olds

This break in Joe Vampire coverage is brought to you by the following headline and the plethora of jokes it invoked in my husband and myself:

Nasa Mars Rover Accidentally Draws Penis On Red Planet

Fighting Nun: Interns Rule!
Bloody Munchkin: I'd love to hear that guy's next interview:  
"What did you do during your internship with NASA?"
"I drew a dick on the red planet and it'll be up there forever."
"That was you? You're hired!" 

Fighting Nun: It was just reported the Mormons are putting together a space program to send people to mars in order to put a big black square over the penis. 

My husband doesn't know it yet, but he just won the internet. I haven't stopped laughing at this.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: Joe Vampire

You remember that New Year's Resolution I made? I'm sucking at it. Like big time. I wanted to read more this year but it's April and I've somehow managed to only finish two book and one of those I read pretty much the bulk of the year before. Pathetic. But I'm trying.

But I finally finished another and if it's the only one I manage to read this year, well I can at least say it was a blast and one of the freshest, most interesting spins on not just vampire lit but of the notion of a novel itself.

Joe Vampire describes the life and undeath of a character named Joe, your average Joe (ha, see what I did there?) and his travails as he's turned from a human to vampire. It ain't pretty, it involves one too many Sake bombs and a a drunken canoodling with the wrong person, and the worst diarrhea ever.

If you're looking for the next Twilight series, you won't find it here. Instead Joe Vampire is a funny, heartfelt, and refreshing take on the vampire story.  This vampire doesn't sparkle and his romantic entanglements, when he's lucky enough to have them are a bit more based in reality. When a book about vampires talks about relationships and uses the term 'soup stage', it suggests that this book has a better idea of what it takes to make a relationship work in the real world, or how easy it is to have them fall apart. This book is not afraid to get messy about relationships, friendships and having the character find its way around vampirism and life itself. The characters feel grounded and lived-in and messy in ways I haven't had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. 

Another thing I loved about this book was the format. The book was written in a series of blog posts, letting the book feel like a series of essays while still capturing the action and progression of a normal novel. I loved this idea because I love reading blogs for much the same reason. The best blogs are a series of open, honest snapshots's into that person's like that the writer is willing to share. Using this platform as a way into the character's life was just that, a series of glances into Joe's life that added up to a whole more than its parts. 

This was a fun, easy read that I'm glad I finally got to finish. It was so much fun that I just bought the sequel and may dive in as soon as possible.  A+ all around.

P.S, Keep it tuned here for my casting of the movie version of this book.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Ecstasy

She’s my salvation, my religion, my temple. I bow before her alter every morning as I pick her up from her crib and kneel before that alter as I put her to sleep. I listen to her sermon of gibberish and undecipherable words and try to heed her commands as if they are gospel. I watch her every move and in that movement and odd rhythm, I achieve an ecstasy of contentment and joy. I watch her dance, hear her laugh, see her smile and I'm at peace.

This week's trifecta challenge was Ecstasy:

a : a state of being beyond reason and self-control
b archaic : swoon
: a state of overwhelming emotion; especially : rapturous delight


Things I learned while writing this:
  • I can not spell Ecstasy on my own. I keep thinking an X should be involved. I don't know why.
  • I can write something without having to edit it a million times to get it under that 333 word limit! Huzzah!
  • Typing with a cut on your index finger is hard work!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Trifecta's Weekend challenge

Another weekend, another Trifecta mini challenge. To Wit:

This weekend we're asking for exactly 33 of your own words plus the following three words:
  • charge
  • century
  • lost
 I don't know why, but those thoughts triggered thoughts of my grandmother and some very strong emotions. For background on my grandmother and what she really means to me, please check out my other blog, The Rosary Project.

The Matriarch

She almost made it a full century.
She was our family’s strength.
When the world came crumbling down,
And she lost son after son to the catastrophe,
She took charge and saved us all.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trifecta Challenge: Color

It was a popularity contest. Lacy tried out for the Panther’s pep squad each year anyway and each year she was denied. But this year, her senior year, she was determined to make it or…. she was determined something else would happen.

She had practiced for weeks crafting her dance routine. She waited patiently the whole day for the auditions until finally she was called. She eyed the tables set up in the room. There was a long table in the center of the gymnasium with the pep squad seated at on end. At the head of the judging panel was captain Karli Fraes, who muttered something under her breath as the other members of the squad laughed, no doubt at Lacy’s expense. Karli had had it out for Lacy since the eighth grade winter dance. But since the great depantsing of sophomore year, Lacy felt the same way. Murder existed behind both their eyes.

At the back of the room was a small table and atop that was an opened Tupperware container, emptied of its contents. Lacy hid a smirk.

Lacy stood in perfect form as she waited for her music to be queued up.

“This tryout is totally missable. Cupcake break!” Karli unwrapped a cupcake. She had two other wrappers in front of her.

“Who made the cupcakes again?” Someone asked.

“They were just here after lunch. Probably some frosh’s mother looking to grease the wheels.” Karli laughed, but something was hidden behind her eyes. Her color was beginning to change from her unnatural brown to a ghastly green.

Lacy’s music began and she danced with flourish. She spun around with glee as a symphony of groans and heaves accompanied her music. She used her best jazz hands as Karli grabbed her stomach in agony. Heaves became hurls as she continued her routine. Finally the music stopped and Lacy got to eye her handiwork and smell it too. “Hope you enjoyed the cupcakes.” She smiled and then left the room.


That up there was my entry for Trifecta's latest one-word challenge:

color (noun)
1a : a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects
  b (1) : the aspect of the appearance of objects and light sources that may be described in terms of hue, lightness, and saturation for objects and hue, brightness, and saturation for light sources

     (2) : a color other than and as contrasted with black, white, or gray
2a : an outward often deceptive show : appearance
  b : a legal claim to or appearance of a right, authority, or office
  c : a pretense offered as justification : pretext
  d : an appearance of authenticity : plausibility
3: complexion tint:
I was kind of a sadistic bastard with this one. Yes, I know it's reminiscent of the barf-o-rama scene in Stand By Me, but be honest with yourself. Haven't you wondered how that scene paired with a Mean Girls-esque type scene would play out? Nobody? Just me then? Well fine. I'll just be over here in the corner by myself admiring Lacy's handiwork.