Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Whose Line is it Anyway? A show I miss


Colin Mochie & Ryan Stiles
My two favorites on the show
While I enjoyed the early seasons of the Drew Cary Show, I really enjoyed the show he hosted, Whose Line is it Anyway? I recalled seeing it originally as a British produced show years before, but it translated well to the USA.

It takes a certain type of talent to be a stand-up comedian and make people laugh. It's taken to a whole new (or two) level when you have to improvise moment by moment. Quick-witted and endlessly creative are must-have qualities.

Below is an episode. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Name a Character in the Next First Civilization's Legacy Novel

At book signing events, individuals have had the chance to sign up to name a character in the third First Civilization's Legacy novel. The current working title is Soul Forge.

If you're interested in potentially naming a character in Soul Forge, visit the contest page on my website and shoot me off an email, or post a reply to this blog with your email address.

If your name/email address is the one drawn, I'll contact you via email and we'll begin the process of your character naming.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Duchess, aka The Cheese Dog: April 4, 1997 to July 22, 2012

We had to take our long-time pet dachshund to be put to sleep today. As dogs go, she was a wonderful pet and companion. Loved everyone and everything, even cats—after a fashion.

Duchess: the Cheese Dog
If nicknames can be a measure with respect to how much a dog was loved and played a part in the family, then Duchess strutted her stuff. Besides Duchess and Cheese Dog, she was also:

Cheezer (short for Cheese Dog)

Weiner Dog or Weenie (what a surprise, mostly when Mira or Genevieve was talking to her about food—pretty much Duchess’s favorite thing, or asking her how she's feeling)

Weenie Tot (she had a little song I’d sing to her carrying her up and down the steps to go outside, and especially if she wasn’t having a good day health-wise)

Swammy Cheese (when she’d poke her head from under towel or blanket, cloak or turban and survey what was going on)

CD Gangland Puppy (when she was trying to assert herself, especially with respect to our other dogs Rainbow—her muscle and Maddy—her scout)

Dutch-Cheese (when she was musking)

Franken-Weenie (when she had her back surgeries and twice bore six inches of metal sutures along her spine)

Little Cheese or Cheeze Wiz or Little Cheeser (variations of Cheezer, mostly used when she was invloved in some of her goofy antics)

Bean Head, (a short lived name when she first came home for acting goofy and for the little knot she had on the back of her skull)

She answered to all, but I think she was fondest of Cheese Dog, especially when called by Genevieve and Mira.

Duchess in the yard with her buddy Rainbow
Back when she was five years old, she had two back surgeries to repair where bone had built up, blocking her nerve paths, leaving her hind legs paralyzed. She was a tough pup. Came though those, and up until the last year or so, she’d done very well. Slowly, despite medications to lower inflammation, she was losing strength and coordination in her hind legs. Still, she could muster a semi-run to the kitchen for food on good days. She also became very adept at spitting out her pain meds, even wrapped in cheese or other foods—while not missing one bit of the surrounding food. That’s a problem with a smart, stubborn dog.

But mostly she was friendly and loved everyone. And was loved very much by folks who met her, but especially by us her family.
Cheese Dog sleeping in her bed

She’ll be missed.

Right now, Mira is reading Rainbow the book Dog Heaven, and explaining it to Rainbow, so she can explain it doglike to Maddy (who won’t sit still long enough). Sure, it’s a kid’s book but it’s a good book for anyone who’s cared for and lost a dog.

Fifteen years was a good run, it just seems like it wasn’t nearly long enough. Miss her already, and it’s only been a couple of hours. Will miss her early tomorrow morning—miss her shaking her head, making the smacking/flapping sound with her ears, announcing she’s up and ready to go outside.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Art Affair on the Square Update

Art created by Richard Hughes
I'll be attending Art Affair on the Square (in Urbana, Ohio) from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm this Saturday (July 21st) and will be located near the Douglas Inn on Miami Street.

I am not sure of all the local authors attending, but William Weldy, Terry Pellman and Stephen Hines will be there as well. We're being hosted by the Champaign County Library.

Besides authors, there will be a great variety of arts and artists, food, and interesting things to see and experience.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Funny Commercial (Saving Money)

The payoff at the end is worth a laugh.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Amazon going for Same Day Delivery?

I've linked to an article below that discusses Amazon's plans to accept collecting customer sales tax, which they've resisted in a number of ways (law suits, not opening physical presences/marketing in certain states in the USA, etc.). Now it appears they're going to relent on this and adopt a different strategy: Set up warehouses and a distribution system nationwide and shoot for same day delivery.

Here's the article from Slate Magazine: I Want It Today

It's obvious that, if successful, the strategy will impact local brick and mortar bookstores, possibly even the used book stores, no matter their size and inventory/stock. While Amazon won't have the taxless sales advantage, still the other book retailers will have to further diversify, beyond coffee and toys and other attractions to keep their market share--which will be a challenge.

Online competitors, such as Barnes & Noble, will be truly challenged, as if they already haven't been. And this challenge will extend to retailers beyond books as Amazon sells a wide variety of items, from toys and jewlery to t-shirts and coffee mugs, and more.

I know some are very concerned about Amazon's dominance, and what it will do to the sales of books and other items. I'm not sure it will be smooth sailing now, or forever. Remember, folks thought Walmart would forever dominate (Walmart is competing with Amazon in some areas on book sales and the reading public), but Walmart has its competitors, the 'dollar stores,' which have managed to undercut the retail giant's low pricing in many cases and carved out a piece of Walmart's customer base.

Although sales of my novels comes through many channels, readers finding and purchasing through Amazon is very large percentage. Maybe it will have positive benefits for my writing. Maybe not.

Just a few of my thoughts based on what the article presented. We'll see what happens.

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Tethered in Purgatory" audio version Available: Just Click and Listen

My short story "Tethered in Purgatory" (read by Matt Baker) is available for listening via Going Public. There are a lot of good stories to listen to there.
(My story can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of the June 29th posting)

The story was originally published in The Sword Review and then republished in the anthology Distant Passages, Volume 2.

What is "Tethered in Purgatory" about?
Consider the question:

What happens to a soul trapped in a cryogenically frozen body?

Here's a direct link to listen to the story:
"Tethered in Purgatory" by Terry W. Ervin II, read by Matt Baker

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

8th Annual Art Affair on the Square

Art created by Richard Huges
I'll be attending the Art Affair on the Square in Urbana, Ohio on July 21st. Several other local authors will be joining me to meet readers and sign copies of our novels.

More information on the exact time frame I'll be under the tent sponsored by the Champaign County Public Library will be forthcoming.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

My Interview with Bookends Now Available via Video On Demand

My interview last month for Bookends on TV-5 Troy Public Broadcasting is now available via video on demand.

First up in the interview is children's book author Gregory Alan Ryerson. My interview follows about 1/2 way into the 30 minute program.

I hope you take the time to view it and let me know what you think.

TV-5's Video On Demand Page
Direct Link to Interview (it may take a few seconds for it to connect).

Bookends Hosts: Sue and Mike

Saturday, July 7, 2012

An Interview with SF Author Angie Lofthouse

Welcome to Up Around the Corner, Angie. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.
The most important things to know about me are that I am a Mormon, been married for twenty years and am a stay-home mom to six kids ranging in age from 19 to 4—five boys, one girl. I grew up in small town Utah and I live in small town Utah now, but I graduated from high school in Las Vegas, got married in Las Vegas, and gave birth to my youngest child in Las Vegas. (We were on vacation. He was early. Long story.) So, when I want to sound cooler than small town Utah, I can always claim to be from Vegas too. 

Angie Lofthouse
I have been writing sci-fi and fantasy for more than eighteen years, and published my first short story in 2003. My first novel just came out in March! Aside from writing, I love music. I'm a singer, primarily, but I also play piano and guitar. I enjoy camping, hiking, roller coasters, and spending time with my family. 

Sounds like you have a wide array of interests and experiences. With so much going on—church, family, other interests—how do you find time to write? 

I don't find time to write—I MAKE it! Doing anything worthwhile takes sacrifice, so I've had to make sacrifices in order to have the time to write. I hardly ever watch TV. My house is not spotlessly clean. I don't really have any hobbies. There are some things I won't sacrifice, of course, like my family and other relationships, or my health. For years, I've written at night after all the kids were in bed, but now that they are getting older, I find I have more time during the day for writing. I'm trying to get to bed earlier, so I can get up earlier and take the time to write in the morning. We'll see how that works. Basically, though, I try to write whenever I get a chance. You can accomplish a lot in little chunks. 

Speaking of accomplishing, tell us a little about your debut novel, Defenders of the Covenant,  how long it took you to write it, and how long it took to find a publisher. 

Got a few minutes? ;) 

Defenders of the Covenant is a religious science fiction adventure novel about some Mormon kids (and others) trying to free the earth from an alien invasion. I wanted to write something entertaining and fun as well as clean and uplifting. 

I actually wrote the novel in 1997-98 while pregnant with my third child. I submitted it for a bit, gathered a lot of rejections, and shelved it for ten years. Fast forward to four years ago—a writer friend asked if she could read it. I gave it to her, warning her that I hadn't looked at it for ten years and it was probably really bad. She read it and assured me it wasn't bad and I needed to start submitting it again. I spent about two weeks re-reading and revising it, which was so much fun after so many years had passed. I fell in love with it again, got it all polished up with the help of  great critiquing friends, and started submitting it again in January of 2009. It was accepted by Walnut Springs Press in April of 2011 and published in March of 2012—a fourteen year journey to publication! 

Fourteen years. That’s a long time, which brings me to the next question: Where would you hope to see yourself as a writer fourteen years from now? Taking it a step further, as a Science Fiction author, how might books and the reading experience change over the next fourteen years? 

Wow. In fourteen years my baby will graduate from high school! I get a little teary just thinking about it. I hope I have lots of grandkids by then. As a writer, I hope to make bigger strides in the next fourteen years than I did the last fourteen years. I hope to have a number of novels under my belt. A loyal audience of readers would be nice too. But whatever the next fourteen years brings, I do know one thing. I will still be writing! 

As far as the future of books, I think it would be really cool to have paper books, but the paper is actually a computer, so like an e-reader, your paper book can be whatever book you want to read at the time, and the pages could include links to all kinds of multi-media content and fun stuff. Wouldn't that be cool? Yes, it would. However, there just isn't any substitute for sitting down with nothing but words on a page and letting those words create an experience that is personal for you. I believe that traditional, no-frills, printed-on-paper books will never go away. 

You have one novel currently released (Defenders of the Covenant). Could you tell us a little about it, and any current projects you’re working on? Also, what famous person alive today do you think would really enjoy Defenders of the Covenant, if it only came to their attention? 

Here's the short blurb for Defenders of the Covenant: Captured, enslaved, and separated, Hannah, Derek, and McKenzie each learn the unique role they must play in liberating the Earth. After all, not even an alien invasion can stop the work of God.  

For more information about it, or if you want to read sample chapters, check out my website: www.angielofthouse.com 

I just submitted a sequel to Defenders to my publisher last week, and I'm close to finishing the first draft of a third novel in the series. After that, I plan on writing something entirely new. I have a few ideas that I'm excited about. On July 21, I'll be releasing three novella prequels to DefendersConsecrated, Refuge, and Renegade—as e-books on Amazon, Smashwords, and B&N. I'm very excited to get those out there. I think they are some of the best writing I've done! 

As for your other question, I'm going to go with Orson Scott Card. I think he'd love it, and it would sure be a dream come true to have him reading one of my books! He's the reason I started writing science fiction in the first place. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with folks here at Up Around the Corner 

On July 21, in conjunction with releasing the novellas, I'm going to hold an online party I'm calling the Defenders of the Covenant Summer Pow-wow on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I hope it'll be fun and generate more interest in my book. I have a bunch of prizes to give away, too. So, come find me on Facebook or Twitter and join in! (The links are on my website) 

Also, if you haven't already, you should check out Mindflights, the magazine that Terry and I work together on. We've got some fantastic poetry and stories posted there! 

Thanks so much for hosting me, Terry!

You're welcome, Angie. I'm looking forward to the release of your novellas and the Summer Pow-wow!

Here are a few additional links that might be of interest:

Angie's Blog: Notes from the Writing Chair
Defenders of the Coventant at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Facebook: Angie Lofthouse, SF Author  Twitter: angielofthouse

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

FandomFest 2012 Wrap-Up, Including Undead Gumby

The left side of my table
in one of the Vendor's Rooms

FandomFest 2102 in Louisville, Kentucky proved to be a great time and experience.

I had the opportunity to meet a whole host of readers, authors and other interesting folks.

My wife, Kathy, attended with me and got to have some fun I didn't.
Bruce Campbell Speaking during a Panel
(Kathy and Bruce crossed paths in the hallway afterward)
Kathy with Colin Ferguson (from Eureka)

When I was speaking on a panel, she was at the table--but when those schedules didn't conflict, she got to meet some additional interesting folks. She chatted with Colin Ferguson, who she said was very funny.

Also, during his panel  he served Jell-O shots to those with questions. Bruce Campbell gave $2.00 and also cranked called a woman's husband.

Also, for those wondering, James G. of Richmond, Kentucky won the Jayne Hat!

Finally, you just never know who or what you'll meet at FandomFest:

Undead Gumby conversing with me from across the room.