Monthly Archives: November 2012

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #10

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until December 7th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: Wicked Readings By
Tawania
.

Please check them out and show them your support.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Posts #’s 8 and 9

As tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I’m posting the link for my Thursday visit this week today. In addition to the normal link required for today. Also, I will not be posting my usual Thursday blog post. Anyway, here goes.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #8

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until December 7th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: November 21: Night Owl Reads . Please check them out and show them your support.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #9

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until December 7th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: November 22: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews. Please check them out and show them your support.

Also, check out the company that promoted the tour: Goddess Fish Promotions. It wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour Stop: #7

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until December 7th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: Sandra’s Blog

Please check them out and show them your support.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour Post #6

 My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until December 7th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have:  Book ‘Em North Carolina. Please check them out and show them your support.

Old Movie Review: I, Robot (2004)

“I, Robot,” starring Will Smith, is a movie based on a novel by Isaac Asimov. I’ve never read the novel, but the movie almost makes me want to. Although, perhaps the ending is now spoiled.

 

The movie is set in Chicago in the year 2035. Will Smith plays Detective Spooner, a Chicago cop with a prejudice against robots. He is called in to investigate the “suicide” of Doctor Lanning, a famous and brilliant scientist in the employ of U.S. Robotics, the largest robotic company in the world. As he investigates, he begins to suspect that this is not just a simple suicide. Something far more insidious is going on.

 

This is definitely an enjoyable movie. It is filled with suspense and intrigue. The clues are well-placed and well thought out. Everything flows from one scene to the next. I don’t think there are any major flaws in terms of technology or anything like that (Asimov was one of the best Sci-Fi writers). Detective Spooner’s aversion to robots is explained in a realistic way and proves to be quite prophetic by the end of the movie.

 

Again, since this movie relies partly on the aura of mystery, I won’t divulge any more of the storyline. I’ll only say that it is worth seeing, but it does lose some of its charm after you’ve seen it as many times as I have. I know that makes this a short review, but, oh, well.

 

Overall, I’ll give it four out of five stars.

The Literati: Who Says Your Book is Bad?

The Literati. Who are they? What are they? From whence do they hail? I would define the Literati as the literary gatekeepers. They are the sophisticated readers. Generally, they have degrees in English–usually a Ph.D. or something like that. They are the editors of giant publishing companies; they decide which books to print and which to not. Because of them, you have received hundreds of rejections for that book you spent so many long hours writing. But because of the Internet, the Literati are losing power.

Because of the Internet and similar technologies, the ebook is becoming the wave of the future. One can find a whole horde of ebooks on smashwords.com and other sites ranging in price from just a few bucks to even free. Many of these ebooks are by self-published authors. The Literati tell us to avoid these self-published authors; they have not taken the traditional route; they have not passed the gauntlet… hence, their books are inevitable of poorer quality than those anointed with the blessing of the Literati.

I’m inclined to agree, but only to a limited extent. A book blessed by the Literati is probably going to be of higher quality than one you download for free from some random website. But there is a subtle issue here: how sophisticated of a reader are you? Will you pick up on all the flaws that a “lower-quality” ebook has? I have friends who read a lot. They are smart people… but they aren’t English majors. They probably would not notice a number of problems with a book that the Literati would certainly jump on. Yet, they still read quite a lot. Basically, my point is that the Literati suffer from literary skills that are too developed, as far as the marketplace is concerned. While it is good to refine your literary skills to such a high degree, one must realize that after a certain point it becomes esoteric. Only a select group of people will understand all the critical points and distinctions that separate a literary classic from the mass market. Like any other discipline, be it philosophy, mathematics, biology, or what have you, the Literati run the risk of submerging themselves in their own private language. Although there is such a thing as terrible writing which most educated individuals will recognize, there is also such a thing as “good enough” that will pass muster for all but the most exacting and technical minds.

It goes without saying that a writer should always want her book to be as good as possible, and,

given the choice, she should always go with an industry-level editor to improve her book, for improve it he will. My point, however, is that after a certain stage, the improvements gained will be lost on the bulk of the readers–at least for mass market readers. And mass market readership is where the bulk of profits come from.

What does this mean to readers and writers alike? Please, feel free to share your thoughts.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour Post #5

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until December 7th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: Books in the Hall. Please check them out and show them your support.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #4

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until December 7th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: Wake Up Your Wild Side. Please check them out and show them your support.

The Standard Dragon

You know, I call this blog “A Toast to Dragons,” but I don’t write about dragons very often. I do, occasionally, but not so much that the title of the blog is obviously justified. I tend to write more about vampires… but that’s largely because I wrote a fantasy book about a vampire (entitled “Drasmyr”—hint hint)So, in the spirit of designing a blog-specific post, I’m going to rant a little bit about what I think constitutes the “standard dragon.”

 

There are typically two general variations of dragons: the Western style dragon, and the Eastern style (Asian) dragon. In the west, dragons were largely seen as evil creatures. They would capture fair maidens, sit on piles of treasure, and gobble up all the brave knights who came along trying to rescue the fair maiden or retrieve the hoard. Eastern dragons were different. And to be honest, I am not as well-versed in the lore of Eastern dragons as I am in Western. However, I know this much: Eastern dragons were largely regarded as powerful spiritual forces. Almost like quasi-deities. Generally, they weren’t evil, but they did demand a certain degree of respect and it was very unwise to anger a dragon. I also read recently on the web (here, in fact), that dragons are regarded as a strong Yang force. I used to know a little about Eastern philosophy, not a lot, but a little. The yin and yang were the two fundamental forces of the universe: opposites that germinate within each other: light and dark; male and female; etc… These days I kind of get confused between the specifics of yin versus yang, but it is interesting to note the connection with dragons. Anyway, like I said, I am much more familiar with the Western dragon.

 

Western dragons were universally evil. As this was the root of Christendom, Western dragons were seen as symbolic of Satan. And that’s not a good thing. There’s that whole bit in Revelations where the red dragon in the sky is waiting to devour the baby. You don’t negotiate with a dragon like that; you either kill it or run away. But if you are going to pit yourself against a dragon, you’ve got to be prepared. To that end, it helps to get an idea of what you might be up against.

 

Dragons are large reptilian-like creatures… I think I would actually hesitate to call them reptiles because they tend to have a number of “special” abilities. Anyway, like I said, they are huge. They give new meaning to the expression “terrible lizard” derived from dinosaurs. I would pit most dragons against a T-rex any day of the week. Of course, some myths have smaller dragons. I’ve seen old paintings of St. George and the dragon where the dragon in question is only slightly larger than a horse. To me, that’s just a drake. A dragon’s got to be the size of a house or it doesn’t count.

 

For weapons, they have a few. Specifically, they have clawed appendages (generally at least two sets, or four, or even more); they also have mouths ringed with large saber-like teeth (probably T-rex sized, at least); they usually have wings (this allows them to fly—which is a great advantage—and it allows them to smack the heck out of you if get too close); they can breathe fire (or some other breath weapon according to the tradition: going with the old AD&D dragons, they usually had one of the following breath weapons: acid, poison gas, frost, lightning, and fire—I’m sure there were actually more options, but I can’t remember them all); sometimes (again, going with AD&D) they can use magic… like they really need to, right?; some dragons can polymorph into just about whatever they want; sometimes the dragons generate fear—but that could just be an attack of common sense; and last, but not least, Smaug in particular had his voice: he could kind of beguile into divulging stuff you didn’t want to, just by talking to you. I’m sure the list can actually go on and on. I think the rule of thumb: if you see a dragon, run away. I think Smaug is my favorite dragon of all time. He’s just the classic beastie: great pile of treasure, nearly invulnerable (alas, only nearly), and with an appropriately arrogant and self-serving attitude.

 

Anyway, those are my thoughts on dragons for the day.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #3

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until December 7th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: Rogue’s Angels. Please check them out and show them your support.