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Book trailers. You know you want one. [Apr. 23rd, 2010|06:40 pm]
[Current Mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[Current Music |fill the air up with love]

Hey, authors!

If you've always wanted a book trailer, but couldn't afford it or thought they were cheesy -- and were specifically interested one of those swanky live-action trailers that are garnering attention, like this and this -- get in touch by e-mailing me at karen at studioosborne dot com or filling out my web form. I'm looking to expand my videography business and would like to create a few awesome book-trailer examples for my portfolio. I would certainly be willing to cut you a very nice deal, and I am sure you will find my work is very nice, as well.

Click here for some examples of the wedding work currently coming out of my studio, and get in touch if you're interested or know someone who is. I'm looking forward to helping you sell some books!
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Hi, I'm back. [Apr. 14th, 2010|08:26 pm]
[Current Mood |giddygiddy]

I know it must seem like I've dropped straight off the face of the Earth, but I've just been tremendously busy. For one, I spent a few months stepping in for a colleague as editor of a local newspaper while she was on medical leave, and also started my own business while I was doing so. And, as anyone who has ever started a small business knows, you pretty much lose anything remotely related to "free time" as a startup. Anyway, I used my eight years' experience as a wedding videographer in New York to start my own studio down here, and I've been shooting weddings, attending bridal shows, and generally trying to make my clients the happiest people in the world since then.

I'm having the time of my life.

And yes, I'm still writing and still trying to get Third Order together, but please understand that keeping my mortgage paid has to take precedence for now. It's coming along!

(I've put some trailers under the cut in case you're interested in what I'm doing. And since I love trailers, a few friends and acquaintances recently floated the idea of doing book trailers, and I must say that I am absolutely intrigued and totally in love with the idea. So, here goes: Do you want a live-action book trailer for your novel? Comment here or write karen at studioosborne dot com, and I'll cut you a deal so I can get some samples under my belt. It should be an idea that we can film without reliance on special effects or mountains. There are no mountains in my part of the country.)

Shiny things under the cut.Collapse )
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Closure in fiction. [Sep. 21st, 2009|07:51 am]
[Current Mood |gloomygloomy]
[Current Music |i wanna scream i love you from the top of my lungs but i'm afraid that someone]

Did anyone else here watch Defying Gravity?

Okay, so it wasn't the best show on Earth. It suffered from the same snail-pacing problem as Kings, and went overboard on interpersonal drama. But, man -- it was scratching my space-opera itch before it became just another show where I'll never know what happens.

To me, what happened to Defying Gravity illustrates why I dislike reading and watching series-based works before they are fully finished. For those of you who don't watch the show, eight weeks of build-up recently culminated in a really great moment at which the thing we've all been anticipating for eight weeks occurs offscreen. The viewer sees the reactions of the crew before the credits roll -- a cliffhanger which would have been fine had the next week filled in the blanks.

That, however, was not to be. ABC recently yanked the show from the schedule due to poor ratings, and now we'll never know what's in Pod 4.

There is art in an abrupt, unfinished ending, of course, because it so often mirrors what happens in real life. As what happened with Starbuck in BSG, you can fill in the blanks yourself and personalize the show. Like Doctor Who's crazy canon, every answer will be the real one. And you can say that it's better for a show to die on its original trajectory than hurry to a breathless, bad finish (as in Babylon 5, when all the viewer was left with were flat Ivanova substitutes and some boring hippie telepaths).

Sometimes, though, it's still nice to have closure the reader doesn't invent herself, especially if you're a reader like me -- someone who doesn't write much, if any, fanfic. I'm tired of investing myself in stories that have a beginning, a middle -- and no end. This is why I'm gravitating these days towards short stories, one-off novels and series books I know will have an ending.

What kind of mythologies have you created for shows that never gave you closure?
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I was thinking about this the other day. [Sep. 12th, 2009|11:50 am]
[Current Mood |geeky]
[Current Music |radio paradise]

Old and Horrible Cliched Tropes That, Done Well, Never Cease to Make Me Happy -- And That My Enjoyment Of May Very Well Get Me Banned From Polite Society Forever:

Amnesia. I know it's so overdone -- but I love it when characters get amnesia, or have their memories wiped, or forget a former life, and I enjoy watching their discoveries as they realize their innate abilities and who they really are -- slowly, or in fits or spurts. I love this when done with characters who have already been established -- that's why Voyager's episode "Workforce" succeeded as well as it did. This also makes me the only person on Earth who doesn't mind that Booth's brain surgery left him with amnesia at the end of the last season of Bones -- as long as it's handled well! Don't bother with the amnesia plot if you haven't adequately established the character before, though -- I won't care one bit.

Prequels. I want to know where the characters came from, what made them the way they were, and all of the things that surround them and their decisions -- hence, I simply adore great prequels. My favorite example of this is Lois McMaster Bujold's Cordelia's Honor. Seeing Mom and Dad Vorkosigan in action gives you yet another window onto Bujold's hero, Miles. Likewise, after you've read Brian Jacques' Redwall, it's nice to read Mossflower and meet Martin The Warrior in action. The Star Wars prequels, mind, do not apply to this category.

The Lost Heir, or Being Bootstrap Bill. It's better if the lost heir or hero doesn't have magical assistance, a "destiny," or a mentor -- I love seeing the lost prince clawing himself back to power by his own bootstraps. Done well, it's pure, unadulterated gratification. Martin's Daenerys is heading in this direction. Anji, who isn't really "lost" but is presented so through Kate Elliott's writing, is extremely smart and capable and also falls under this category. Another book that did a bootstrap story incredibly well is Paula Volsky's "Illusion," where Eliste vo Derrivalle shows the reader that she's more than just another pretty face. (I gave away that book in a garage sale, once, and I've always regretted it, as it's now out of print and I would love to read it again.)

The Paper-Bag Princess. Do a strong, realistic heroine well, and you have me at "hello." Ellen Kushner's The Privilege of the Sword is the most recent book I've read where this applies. 

Time Travel. I've loved it since I first read A Connecticut Yankee in middle school. Done right, time travel is affecting and fascinating, and makes for some wonderful storylines you can't get anywhere else (as in Connie Willis' Doomsday Book or the better Doctor Who episodes). Done wrong (I'm looking at you, Star Trek), it makes you want to tear your eyeballs out. But done right? It's really great.

What cliche tropes will you admit to enjoying, if they're done quite well? 
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RIP, Reading Rainbow. [Aug. 29th, 2009|10:22 pm]
[Current Mood |grumpygrumpy]
[Current Music |this is gallifrey: our childhood, our home -- murray gold]

Did you know that Reading Rainbow was cancelled? I just found out today. I can't tell you how much I loved this show when I was a kid. Along with Sesame Street and my Mom and Dad, it was one of the major forces that showed me that reading was cool, that reading was fun, and that I just loved books. Yeah, it was TV, but it was intelligent TV, and besides, Geordi La Forge was telling me that books were cool, and...

... yes, I was a nerd back then, too. But, to wit, from TV Squad:

Apparently, due largely in part to rising illiteracy rates, the educational policies instituted by our last president put more of a focus on teaching children about "the basic tools of reading - like phonics and spelling." As a result, the Department of Education now has far less government funding for a show that only tells kids why they should read rather than teach them how to read.

A lot about this situation is utterly disgraceful -- the lack of funding and cancellation itself, and -- like TV Squad said, the fact that illiteracy in this country has skyrocketed so high that the Department of Education can't afford to fund a show about how fun reading is because so many children are still struggling with the basic mechanics. But how are we going to convince our children that reading is important if we can't show them that reading is fun and valuable and worthwhile? Some kids, for many reasons, only get this from shows like Reading Rainbow and related media. Without heart and soul and inspiration -- the very thing LeVar Burton brought to TV screens for twenty-six years and the very thing elementary school teachers everywhere fight an everyday uphill battle against prevailing popular culture to show their students -- reading can become work for kids. Spelling tests. Word problems. Homework. Lots of noise and bother, signifying nothing. Worthless. That is a tragedy beyond words.

... but you don't have to take my word for it.

This is the theme I remember from when I was a kid:

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Regarding Pellinore. [Aug. 25th, 2009|11:05 pm]
[Current Mood |draineddrained]
[Current Music |nothing -- so tired]

Massive spoilers and whingeing about reboot-Arthuriana, so it's cut --

Oh, Pellinore.Collapse )
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Kings, writing, etc. [Jul. 26th, 2009|07:26 pm]
[Current Mood |draineddrained]
[Current Music |i think it's a song by the smiths]

Who else watched NBC's slaughtered show Kings? What an absolute gem of a show. It started slow, of course, but by the end it had really reached a rolling pitch, and hit all my happy buttons -- great writing, political machinations, cheesy romances-of-fate, and Ian McShane's incredible performance as Silas. In addition, I love rolling in lascivious, ornate language when I consume my media, and Kings had it in spades.

It was also very interesting to see how a truly Old Testament deity* operated in a modern context; there was more than one time that I ended up squealing to a friend on phone or Twitter, "This is a Third Order show! See this!" The only weak link that really bugged me was the actor who played David Shepherd; in a cast where the actors can tell you sentences by the tics in their cheek and the way they slit their eyes, he was a stone wall.

Maybe that was the point of casting Egan for that role. Hm. At any rate, it's on Hulu, and it really is worth your time.

At any rate, I haven't been very active on the Net lately because of my schedule -- I'm catching up on Third Order responses, starting two-ish businesses, revising one novel and outlining another. At the end, I am afraid I have very little energy left for the debates of the day -- and if I do, it's for conversations that center around how amazing the Eleventh Doctor's suspenders look. Bright days and cookies to everyone, and I hope you're all doing well.
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sf&f writers' day [Jun. 23rd, 2009|11:09 pm]
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]
[Current Music |this is a gift it comes with a price]

When I was in seventh grade, all of my friends were transferred to the new middle school across town and I found myself lonely, miserable, teased and eating lunch in tears every day. Luckily, I discovered that if I slipped through the back of the cafeteria kitchen, I came to a back hallway secret passageway that led straight to the library heaven without encountering a single hall monitor. (!!!!)

My heartfelt thanks go out to the lunch ladies that conveniently forgot to see me every day, to the librarian who kept on feeding me new books off the SF/F shelf, and the writers who kept me hooked, hopeful, and out of trouble.

(Hey, middle school is hard.)

This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but I hope I can cover most of my crucial SF/F writers & influences -- thank you, Brian Jacques, for Matthias and Mariel and the measure of a hero; Michael Ende, because The Nothing is still the scariest thing ever, Anne McCaffrey, for the dragons, even though I thought Lessa was a little strange; Stephen Donaldson, for my first experience with an antihero; Mary Doria Russell and James Blish, who gave me a senior thesis and kicked off what is going to be a lifelong fascination; Brannon Braga, who ruined Trek for me with his human salamanders (and in the process, showed me what kind of story I loved); Lisa Klink, who first gave me the idea that, ooh, I can do this, too; Harlan Ellison, for... being Harlan Ellison; Sherwood Smith, whose book "Wren To The Rescue" came to my rescue and who continues to write books that dazzle; Connie Willis, whose Domesday Book floored me; J.R.R. Tolkien, and I think everyone here knows why; George R. R. Martin, for the lovely favor of making me scream on a crowded bus because he killed my favorite character (very first writer to do that to me!); China Mieville, whose Perdido Street Station did more to change my aesthetic than any other book that year; Lois McMaster Bujold, whose unimpeachable books I've admired since I was in seventh grade and who was so gracious when I spilled a cup of water on myself like a total noob last Fourth Street when I realized that I was sitting right in front of her; Elizabeth Bear, who doesn't know me from Adam but yet taught me a lot about the sheer importance of a writer's voice and commitment through her blog; Robert Heinlein, for writing the first book that I truly did not understand (and then understood so well ten years later); Flannery O'Connor, for giving me Wise Blood, wisdom and courage; others -- Richard Adams, C.J. Cherryh, John Ford, Guy Gavriel Kay, Sheri Tepper, Tad Williams (who knows how to make a girl who adores long novels faint with excitement); and every screenwriter who tackled the characters of Kathryn Janeway and Xena: Warrior Princess, even if they failed.

And that's only the beginning. I just know I'm missing dozens of writers; I'll wake up tomorrow and say, "what about that one, and that one, and that one," and not to mention everyone else I have met through LiveJournal and the Internet, all of my fellow aspirants, the Third Order writers who keep on surprising me, the awesome Orlando Writing League, the collaborative writers at BD, and those writers I know not through SF/F but through journalism -- thank you!

Finally: If you could be so kind as to link me to some commentary on what computers and communications devices might look like 10-15 years from now, I would be very grateful!
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soundtrack post [Jun. 21st, 2009|09:00 am]
[Current Mood |dorky]
[Current Music |midas is king and he holds me so tight and turns me to gold in the sunlight]

While I was writing The War of the Faithful, I tried to listen to songs that "fit" the book's mood, and whenever I'd find something that was particularly resonant, I'd drag it to a separate playlist. So, in the case that I never let anyone read this -- it is my first novel, after all -- these are the twelve top singles off that playlist, in no particular order (save the florence single, which is at the top because it's the most apropos):

war of the faithful

florence + the machine -- rabbit heart (raise it up)
the killers -- when you were young
keith urban -- better life
foo fighters -- the pretender
nine inch nails -- the fragile
klaxons -- gravity's rainbow
snow patrol -- set the fire to the third bar
john hiatt -- cry love
sevendust -- waffle
kaiser chiefs -- oh my god
santana feat. chad kroeger -- into the night
dj surge-n feat. britney spears & gwen stefani -- ticktoxic

YouTube links underneath the cut.Collapse )
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Draft Zero! [Jun. 18th, 2009|11:50 pm]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]
[Current Music |you know i really like it you know i'll always be here you know it makes my]

The War of the Faithful
104,647 / 104,647 (100%)

I am grinning like a loon.

The last line of the book was written to the crescendo of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." Oh, boy, does it need revision. But, still, it's my first novel-sized Draft Zero, and I am kind of proud of it. I hope it gets published someday, when it's spruced and spiffed and nobody named Otto is referenced in it at all

It also needs a new title. Again.

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