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Archive for July, 2010

Freelance Writing

Here’s a great guest post by Alexis Bonari

Freelance Writing: Unlimited Possibilities, Tough Competition

Freelancing isn’t just an excuse to sit at home and sift through old high school friends’ latest profile pictures. It can be a full-time, rewarding job if taken seriously by individuals who are willing to cultivate their natural writing abilities throughout their lives. Because writing is closely associated with an ever-changing society’s language and culture, freelance writers have to be adaptable.

That involves not only a career of writing, but also one of reading. Staying current, following the news, and finding new sources of information are all life-long priorities for freelancers. Some of them write because they enjoy reading the news, because they love preaching from a soapbox, or even because they’re convinced that the populace must be warned of impending alien invasions. But the real attraction of freelance writing lies in its versatility.

The Job Description

Freelance writing venues can be online or in print, nonfiction or imaginative stories, informative or entertaining. The possibilities really are endless here, but that can be both a bonus and an Achilles’ heel. For example, some freelance writers earn six figures by developing relationships with magazines or other publications that regularly use their work, by writing books, or by consulting and writing for businesses. Obviously, this isn’t practical for every writer, so many freelancers have additional jobs or focal points in their work. Some examples are:

1. Blogging and ghost writing, guest posting, or just plain starting a blog.

2. Creative writing and short stories and poems can bring bacon, too.

3. Editing and proofreading grammarians and detail-oriented syntax junkies often find supplemental work in these areas.

4. Editorial management can involve interfacing with other freelancers, directing traffic for start-up e-zines, and reporting reader information to the publisher.

5. Fact checking and research gurus are all over this one.

6. Freelance reading services, publishers, agents, book summarizing services, and audio book recorders pay careful readers.

7. Grant research writing, with additional training, can be a fulfilling freelancer’s option.

8. Public relations and marketing in this field may also require specialized training or experience, but those who enjoy manipulating the printed word find it challenging and lucrative.

Where and How to Find Work

There’s a lot of competition among freelance writers, so it’s important to have a strong resume and portfolio, preferably accessible online. Many freelancers have blogs specifically for their portfolios and other information or experience that make them strong candidates. Beyond becoming a strong competitor, the successful freelancer will thoroughly and consistently research job opportunity venues. Some examples are the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, AP, Magazine Publishers of America, Media Bistro, Morning Coffee, Places for Writers, etc. The important thing is to make a habit of looking for opportunities, even if the current workload seems consistent. Freelance writing is a gratifying and challenging field, but it’s wise to cultivate multiple areas.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at onlinedegrees.org, writing on getting her online degree. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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Dungeon Crawlers Radio

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I’m all about the radio interviews this week. Tonight I’m on Dungeon Crawlers Radio. The guys, Revan, Malak, and Bilf interviewed me at the ConDuit convention a little while back. They did a fifteen minute interview, which you can listen to at http://www.DungeonCrawlersRadio.com. Or you can listen to the podcast on Wednesday July 14th. Get the podcast by going to http://www.dungeoncrawlersradio.com/podcast.html or through iTunes.

This was a fun one and I revealed a few things about the origin of the Iron Dragon series that I almost never reveal.

Enjoy the interview,

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
http://www.paulgenesse.com

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Predators Movie Review

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Predators Movie Review

Here’s my written review of the new Predators movie, which I’ll be reviewing live on K-Talk 630 AM on the Sector Five radio show (9PM-11PM) on Saturday, July 10. The radio station wants me to become an on-air movie reviewer and Saturday we’ll be talking about my books and stories. Check out http://sectorfiveradio.com/

Predators (2010)

The hunters are back.

I just watched the new Predators movie at a 12:01 AM showing in my local theater. I give it three and a half out of five stars, a solid B+ grade film. I admit, it was a lot of fun to watch the film with friends and relive some of the feelings I had when I watched the first Predator movie back in 1987, when I was 14. If you liked that movie, you’ll like this one—though you’ll miss Arnold, one of his best movies. Ever since seeing the original I wanted to know more about the predators. Who are they? Where do they come from? To answer those questions I read every Predator (and Aliens) book. Yes, the universes do cross over, in case you didn’t know. You’ll learn more about them in this movie and there are is a new twist that will send the franchise in another direction.

Aliens vs. Predator: Prey, by Steve and Stefani Perry is the best book in the franchise. Read it. Trust me. You’ll get to learn a lot about the predators, and there are scenes from their point of view. It’s still available even though it came out in 1994, and don’t worry, it’s not the Alien vs. Predator movie that came out in 2004.

The new Predators movie brings us back to the jungle, though not on Earth. A motley crew of bad-asses is brought to an alien planet and hunted by high technology alien predators with plasma-type weapons, wrist-swords and cloaking technology. The opening of the movie is pretty awesome, but then it gets a little weird as the characters come together and figure out what’s going on. The dialogue is pretty over the top, and strangely enough, this horror movie has major action comedy aspects. It’s got all the cheesy action lines with the obligatory F-word in practically every line—which I mostly loved. The dialogue was supposed to be funny, as far as I can tell . . . (The producer, Robert Rodriquez made Sin City, Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Grindhouse, after all).

The movie (directed by Nimrod Antal, who is from Hungary) is fast-paced with seriously kick ass characters shooting big guns and blowing stuff up. It’s a man-flick and don’t drag your soft-hearted girlfriend or wife to the theater. Take your video game playing, beer drinking, guy friends and enjoy the carnage. One friend did tell me that it wasn’t gory enough for him, though I think it was pretty gory, especially the spine/skull removal scene.

You also might be put off by the lead character, Royce, played by the Academy Award winning actor Adrien Brody. I watched an interview and Brody said he was pitched another role in the film (that did not appear in the movie), but he wanted the lead character role. I think he did a pretty good job, but he changed his voice to be tougher. It was okay, but since I know what he usually sounds like, his voice threw me off at first—as it did some of my friends. He’s a great actor, but it was a risk for him to play this role and I don’t know if he was totally successful, though I mostly liked him. (sad sigh)

The other characters were pretty cool. A little quibble I had was the decision to say Alice Brago (a fabulous Latina actress) was an IDF sniper (Israeli Defense Forces), when she obviously has a Spanish, not a Hebrew accent. She was great, but casting her as an Israeli was a little iffy. Another notable character is Stans, the FBI’s most wanted criminal, played by Walton Goggins, who had some crazy awesome lines. Topher Grace was the odd man in the cast, but did an excellent job—especially toward the end of his performance. Lawrence Fishburne had a limited role, but was spectacular as Noland. His entrance into the film is brilliant.

Overall, the movie was not amazing, but was a lot of fun, and if you’re a fan of the original two Predator movies, you’ll dig this one, but don’t set your expectations too high. They didn’t create a world as cool as Pandora (James Cameron’s Avatar world), but we do get to see the predators in action in this truly exciting and frightening re-launch of the Predator franchise.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
http://www.paulgenesse.com

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Mozart’s Blood

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I’m so excited that Amazon.com just delivered the book I ordered. It’s by one of my favorite authors, Louise Marley. The book looks awesome, and the main character is a vampire who drank Mozart’s blood long ago, and still carries something of his genius inside her. She’s an opera singer and has traveled the world performing, but changing her identity as she’s come through the ages. What a great idea. I can’t wait to read a vampire thriller by an awesome writer.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Golden Cord
http://www.paulgenesse.com

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2010 Young Writers Award

I just heard about the 2010 Young Writers Award from a friend of mine. I know some of you out there who should definitely enter the contest. The award is for writers 21 years old or younger. The details about the award, including how to submit are below.

About

The Young Writers Award is an award given to the best young writer for the year, whether the writer in question is a poet, short fiction writer, or novelist. The contest will be judged on merit and execution and will serve to highlight the exceptional talents of one writer. Our hope is to make the award annual.

Prize

$250 (other prizes will be announced in the future, which may include books and other items)

Judge

The award will be judged by author Jason Sanford. His work has appeared in Interzone, Analogy Science Fiction and Fact, Tales of the Unanticipated, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Pindeldyboz, The Mississippi Review, and 3:AM Magazine. He is a recent Nebula Award finalist (for “Sublimation Angels” in Interzone #224), winner of the Interzone Readers’ Poll two years in a row, and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize. He is also founder of storySouth, a magazine that focuses on literature from the New South.

Award Rules

–Writers must be: a. 21 years old or younger AND b. Active members of Young Writers Online at the time of the deadline for the award. The definition of “active” is left to the discretion of the owners of Young Writers Online and will take into account post and critique frequency. It should be assumed that posting less than once a day (in sheer numbers), whether in the discussion sections or writing sections, does not constitute “active.”

–Writers may submit up to a total of 10,000 words of unpublished fiction in up to five short stories OR up to a total of 120 lines of unpublished poetry in up to 6 poems OR a combination of fiction and poetry not to exceed 5,000 words of unpublished fiction (in no more than 3 stories) and 60 lines of unpublished poetry (in no more than 4 poems). Quality over quantity is a rule of thumb.

–Fiction may be of any genre and must either be completed short stories or completed chapters of novels.

–Poetry may be in any style.

–Submissions for the award should be sent as .doc or .rtf files (no .docx, .pages, or any other file types, and do not post your submission in the body of the email) to sbsmag [at] yahoo [dot] com with the subject “Young Writers Award.” Provide your real name and your YWO account name. Please follow standard manuscript format with the following alterations: a. The text of your submission should start on the second page with the name of your submission and the page number in the header. Your first page should contain your name, your YWO account name, the title of your submission, and the word count. b. Do not put your last name in the header of your submission. We intend for all entries to be judged blindly and will cut out the first page for submission to our judge.

–Submissions must be sent no later than Sept. 1st, 2010. Winners will be announced in October and the award will be distributed via Paypal (other arrangements can be made in the event that the winner cannot use Paypal).

–Questions should be sent to sbsmag [at] yahoo [dot] com or posted in the forum section for the award.

http://www.youngwritersonline.net/showthread.php?t=5233

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Review of The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Hunger Games by Suzzane Collins

Everybody told me to read this book, and I’m glad I did. The Hunger Games is a hot YA novel that is definitely science fiction, but it’s not marketed that way from what I can tell. I finally read it and and finished last week. It started pretty slow, but the main character, Katniss (named after flowering water plant), was awesome. I really enjoyed how the author portrayed her and was impressed at how much I was made to care. Katniss has a self-deprecating sincerity that makes you love her.

The book is very character driven and tells the story of a future North America that has been brought under the control of a cruel central government that imposes its will on twelve districts with starving populations kept poor and hungry by draconian policies. The government (referred to as, “the capital”) forces each district to send a boy and girl to participate in the Hunger Games once a year–they draw lots to see who goes—but it’s probably rigged. Then the capital game makers lock the teenagers into an arena where they proceed to kill each other live on television—which shows how big and powerful the capital is–and keeps the districts in line.

Only one person can survive and win. Good thing Katniss is an amazing archer—she hunted illegally since she was young. She’s a truly interesting character and the entire novel is from her point of view. I love it that Suzanne Collins didn’t muddy the waters with other characters points of view. She stays in tight on Katniss and this really allowed me, and I think any reader, to really become vested in the character.

The story is a little far-fetched for me, but I can mostly buy it, and the world that Collins created is fascinating. In the end, the book is well written, interesting, and has some cool characters, especially Katniss. I don’t see it as a must read, but I was quite entertained. I’m now listening to the audio book of the sequel, Catching Fire, and I like it a lot so far. Book three in the series is out now and I’m glad I’ll be able to read it without a long wait. In summary, Suzanne Collins has created an excellent series for young adults and adults, that entertains as well as educates the reader about the dangers of inhumanity and the consequences of having to do anything to survive.

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
http://www.paulgenesse.com

View all my reviews >>

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Dracula: The Undead

Dracula the Un-Dead (Thorndike Basic) Dracula the Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dracula: The Undead

By Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt

When I saw news about this book, Dracula, The Undead online, I knew I had to read it. The line on the book cover was: He returns . . .

What?! Dracula wasn’t dead and he’s coming back? I was into it. Great marketing on the publisher’s part. This book is a direct sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula and a member of the Stoker family was part of the writing process (more on that later).

Let me say, I’m a huge Dracula fan. I loved the novel by Bram Stoker, and have loved so many of the movies. In college I entered an MTV sponsored contest sending in 25 postcards for the chance to visit Romania and see Vlad Dracula’s castle in Wallachia. I didn’t win, but my interest in Dracula only grew. The historical figure was a true monster, and the fictional Vlad was another kind of monster. Sexy, cool, and so powerful. Vampires have always fascinated me, espeically the Anne Rice type of vampires, like Lestat, and the True Blood HBO series vampires.

This novel was a lot of fun. The intro features a letter from Mina Harker telling her son, Quincy, that she may have been killed by a vampire, and reveals that a lot was kept from him over the years. The letter is genius, and Dracula’s fangs were in my neck right after I read the letter from Mina–I mean the literary hook was solidly set into my brain. I wanted to know more.

It’s set during the early 1900’s and had a very Victorian feel to it. I didn’t fly through the novel, but found it quite entertaining, though predictable. The best thing about it was that the original Bram Stoker story was turned on its head. We find out that the events recounted in the novel by Bram Stoker were not represented accurately. Yes, it really happened, but not as Stoker described.

All the survivng characters from the book are back, and they are so messed up and flawed. Dark and gloomy would be an understatement. It was like a car crash you couldn’t look away from. Ian Holt and Dacre Stoker did a pretty good job portraying the characters and keeping the plot moving, but by skipping into so many points of view it lessened the impact for me.

The idea of the novel was to weave historical events into the narrative, and though I found that interesting, I didn’t think it was totally necessary. I can see why the authors took this tactic, but I would have rather had “the Prince” be the main focus, rather than the extremely famous murders that acutally happened in London.

I would recommend this book to any fans of Bram Stoker’s original novel. It was cool to see what the greatest living Dracula fan (Ian Holt) and a descendent of Bram himself (Dacre Stoker) would do. Reading the very long Afterward about the writing of the book was possibly the best part of my reading experience.

Bram Stoker’s widow went through terrible times regarding the copyright of the original novel, and now we Dracula fans have a chance to help the Stoker family get back some of what was stolen from them so long ago.

And we get to read the direct sequel to the original classic! What else can I write except: He returns . . .

Paul Genesse
Author of The Dragon Hunters
www.paulgenesse.com

View all my reviews >>

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