Archive for November, 2009

30
Nov
09

Welcome to the 2009 Evertime Realms Christmas Party!

Hey, friends! Here we are, the final day of November, and a short 25 days until Christmas. If you’re new to the ‘Realms, perhaps one of the people coming to the site for the first time after hearing the promo to A Long November played on Scott Sigler’s podcast (thanks again, FDO!), allow me to explain what’s going on here. You see, Christmas is my favorite time of year. I truly turn into a great big kid throughout the month of December. I love the music, I love the lights, I love the food, I love the giving and the receiving, and I love the stories.

More than anything, I love the stories.

There’s something about Christmas that makes it the perfect time of year for a love story, for a heartwarming story, for a story of redemption, and that’s what my annual “Christmas Party” here at the site is really about. Over the next month, you can expect a deluge of reviews of Christmas movies, television shows, books, comic books, music, and anything else I find that I want to talk about that gets me in the holiday mood.

What’s more, I tell my own stories as well. The podcast of A Long November is an important part of that, but it’s just one Christmas story. I write a new one every year (and, lest I forget to pimp it out, may I add that you can get the eBook edition of the last nine years’ worth of Christmas tales totally free from Smashwords.com?), and this year will be no different. In the week before Christmas, you’ll be able to get my all-new story for 2009, “Turn Right at Sign,” both here at the ‘Realms and as an audio version on the podcast.

So I’ve got a lot of stuff ready to go. I’ve got a stack of books that need reading, a pile of DVDs that need watching, and even a few new specials ready for the DVR to record. Christmas time is here, my friends, and I promise that Evertime Realms is going to give you everything you can to get into the spirit. It’s all going to start here tomorrow with my review of the new Disney version of the classic novel A Christmas Carol. Have a great month, and check back here daily!

30
Nov
09

Universal Rule of the Universe #61

61. Anyone who complains about free pie should have it shoved in their face, the video of which should be immediately uploaded to YouTube.

Read all of the Universal Rules of the Universe right here!

29
Nov
09

2 in 1 Showcase Episdoe 147: Best of 2009 Nomination Special

It’s that time again! With only a month left in the year, the boys get together to make their nominations for the greatest in comics in 2009. Blake, Kenny, occasionally Mike, and Chase (via e-mail) make their choices and then leave it up to you to cast your votes by e-mailing the show by December 18! The guys then read a few e-mails, talk about the future of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and make this week’s picks, including Kenny‘s Justice League of America #39, Mike‘s Booster Gold #26, and Blake‘s Monsters, Inc.: Laugh Factory #3 Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@Comixtreme.com!

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 147: Best of 2009 Nomination Special
Inside This Episode:

28
Nov
09

NaNoWriMo 2009: Finish Line

Twenty-eight days and 62,731 words later, I’ve crossed the finish line, my friends. I’ve completed work on the first draft of Opening Night of the Dead, my 2009 National Novel Writing Month project, with three whole days to spare.

I finished the story last night at about 12:30 a.m. I actually hit the required 50k a few days ago, on November 24, but I wasn’t finished with the story yet so I barged forward. I actually had my two most productive days of writing after I hit the 50k mark, with a burst of creative energy on Wednesday the 25th, then a slower day for Thanksgiving. Then yesterday, with the ending in sight… I’ve never been surfing, but I imagine that last burst of a novel is similar to catching that big wave and just riding it as far as it will take you.

I’m especially proud because, although I’ve met the 50K word requirement every year that I’ve taken this challenge, this is the first time since 2005 (when the project was a book you may have heard of called A Long November) that I actually finished the story itself and didn’t just make the word count prior to the end of November. That’s a pretty big deal to me, I have to admit.

“So Blake,” you ask, “What do you do now?” You’d think I would take a break, wouldn’t you? Sure, maybe if you didn’t know me at all. I am putting aside Opening Night for a while, though. Every writer learns some things about his own technique and style after a while, and one of the things I know to be true is that I cannot begin editing a project as soon as I finish the first draft. It’s still too fresh, I’m still too in love with the little lines and the little beats that a more objective eye can tell need to be changed — or even removed — to make for a better story. I need at least a few months before I can even think of beginning the editing process.

So what will I be doing instead? Well, two projects are in my immediate future. First, I’ve got to write my annual Christmas Card short story. I’ve got the plot, even the title, all planned out. It’s just a matter of putting pen to paper on that one. The other thing I need to do is get heavy in the edits for Cross-Purposes, to get that book polished up and ready to record to present in the Evercast in early 2010. Cross-Purposes, I should remind you, is my 2008 NaNoWriMo project. So that should give you an idea of my usual editing cycle.

So one project ends, and it’s back to an older one. But hey, this is what I love to do. So wish me luck, friends. It’s back to the grind.

27
Nov
09

What I’m Reading: Blackest Night #5

This issue: really bad stuff happens that I refuse to spoil, because you need to read it yourself.

Honestly, I could probably stop typing here and already have said everything I need to say, but I’m not going to do that because I feel like I should at least make the text reach far enough to wrap underneath the image at the right of this post. Awesome cover, isn’t it? Ivan Reis is the man.

Anyway, this issue picks up seconds after the end of Green Lantern #48. The seven leaders of the Corps that make up the emotional spectrum have finally united and are on a quest to seek out and destroy the Black Lanterns’ central power battery, unaware that it has manifested on Earth. Back home, Barry Allen is holding the line, and he’s not alone. The Justice League and Titans are there with him, fighting off the swarm of Black Lanterns and their newly-risen lord, Nekron. What nobody realizes, though, is that they may well be playing right into the God of Death’s hands.

One of the things this series was supposed to do at the outset was address what many people (myself included) have called the “Revolving Door in Heaven.” That comic book phenomenon where some characters just keep dying and coming back, dying and coming back. In fact, if you look at that cover, every character swirling around ol’ Nekron there is one who has come back after taking their own dirt nap, some of them terribly recently. This issue, the explanation brings us to one of the most chilling moments yet in this series.

I wouldn’t want to be one of Earth’s defenders this month, but it’s a great time to be a reader. Geoff Johns pulls off one of the twists of the year, doing something that (as all the best twists do) feels perfectly logical and reasonable, but that we never would have seen coming. This issue, again, shows us just why so many are calling this the best are calling this the best comic book event in years. Again, myself included.

Rating: 9/10

27
Nov
09

What I’m Reading: Green Lantern #48

In deep space, Hal Jordan and the other light-bearers he’s drawn together are seeking out the last two they need to have the entire emotional spectrum united, but Atrocitus and Larfleeze will not prove to be as rational as Sinestro and Saint Walker. Alliances are forged, betrayals revealed and long-buried secrets come to light.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to call this an “origin issue,” we do learn an awful lot about the motivations of the Red Lanterns in this issue, Atrocitus in particular. While he may be incredibly dangerous, it’s not beyond reason to think his rage could be justified. As for Larfleeze… Larfleeze is funny. There were several times reading this issue where I legitimately laughed out loud. Geoff Johns is playing the character for laughs, and he’s telling a great story in the process. His part in all this is becoming clearer, the truth about him being peeled back at the same time as we learn about Atrocitus. We even get a tiny little  hint about the ultra-secretive Indigo Corps.

Doug Mahnke must be having a blast on this title. Since taking over at the outset of this storyline, he’s spent most of his time in space, working with the various Corps involved in the War of Light, with aliens and monsters, with super-cool energy effects and so forth. In the grand scheme of things, this book really is something of a calm before the storm for Blackest Night. It’s one last chance to pause and catch our breath before the stuff really hits the fan in issue #5 of the main title. But this is no doubt a necessary step, and it puts the characters right where we need them as we move into the second half of this event.

Rating: 8/10

27
Nov
09

What I’m Reading: Justice League of America #39

Even before their “official” team takes over the book, James Robinson and Mark Bagley are having some fun with the remnants of the previous team in this Blackest Night crossover. The rag-tag team, including Vixen, Gypsy, Dr. Light,Zatanna, Red Tornado, and Plastic Man, stand in the broken husk of the Hall of Justice, where the Black Lantern corpses of many of their enemies have recently arisen. It’s not just the enemies they’ll need to deal with — Gypsy and Vixen find themselves facing their late teammate Vibe, Zatanna confronts the soulless corpse of her own father, and Dr. Light seeks out the villain whose name she has been trying to redeem for years.

As always, Robinson‘s grasp of character is impeccable. He puts these heroes through real Hell, and they’ve started from a pretty nasty place to begin with. The duel between Zatanna and Zatara is epic, exciting stuff. Zee already had to watch her own father’s soul destroyed in the Reign in Hell series — fighting his body, battling him spell for spell… it’s wonderful. We also get some really good stuff here with Dr. Light. In fact, Robinson in general has become quite the champion of that character, both here and in Superman.

Bagley isn’t just one of the top artists in the business because he’s consistent. He’s also good. The women especially look good here, and the slowly-melting Plastic Man looks like he’s in major agony. Bad for Plas, of course, but it’s impressive in the terms of the artwork.

This story tales place after Robinson‘s Cry For Justice miniseries which — as of this writing — still has two issues to go. But between that title and this one, I’m more than satisfied that the book is going to be in very good hands.

Rating: 8/10




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