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Its GLORIOUS COVER REVEAL happens April 3, 2017 on the DARK PARADISE: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha Facebook page (which will dramatically descend from the heavens and appear on said date, all glory be to god and editor Gail M Baugniet of the Aloha Sisters in Crime Hawaii chapter, amen).

Along with the cover, there will be tidbits about plot lines, the authors (one of them my awesome wife Shauna) and writing information we’ve picked up along the way. Like the best way to find typos is to put your story into a book layout program? Of course, when you PUBLISH it, grammar nazis will still scream that you used a jot when you should have used a tittle. (Note to grammar nazis: “jot” and “tittle” are SYNONYMOUS.)

The anthology offers 17 mysteries set in Hawaii, including my 5.9% contribution (yes I can do math despite being an English major) humble (but GLORIOUSLY so!) story about a young Japanese woman with the kind of embarrassing problem everyone has – a greedy blackmailer.

You’ll also find Shauna’s glorious story, “The Stranger,” in which a happily-married Jenelle learns some shocking and deadly information about her husband – like just WHY they’re dashing to the airport to flee the islands.

So on Monday, April 3, pop in at the Facebook page and have a glorious visit with everyone. Then I think you’ll agree with me that the cover is the NUMBER ONE CANDIDATE for greatest book cover of 2017. It would win the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes for book covers hands down. When it appears on bookshelves, all other covers will bow in adoration. (Can you tell that I really like this cover? I am PROUD to have a story behind a cover this great.)

Find out more about it and its other stories from some of the other authors appearing in the anthology. They’ll also post about the cover reveal today and I’m sure many will be hanging out at the Facebook page when it goes live:

So be there and be GLORIOUS!

According to my wonderfully-Aspbergian godson, New York City and Washington DC are two of the most popular strike points during Alien invasions.

I don’t keep much track of Alien invasions. But even I remember Marvel’s Avengers demolishing big chunks of NYC. And the aliens in Independence Day blasted Washington, D.C.

(A distraction: This article at VH1.com lists all the cities that Godzilla destroyed. NYC is #2 on the list.)

Let’s add some more cities, and other beings that seem to like to attack cities:

  • Los Angeles:

    • Attacked by Martians in all 3 of the War of the World movies

    • Attacked repeatedly by Terminators (being from Earth, they’re not aliens)

    • Destroyed by the Independence Day aliens

    • Attacked by aliens in Skyline

    • Attacked by Cylons in 1981’s Battlestar Galactica: Conquest of the Earth

  • Tokyo:

    • The favorite of Godzilla and her other monstrous accomplices/enemies

  • San Francisco:

    • Another of Godzilla’s targets (particularly the Golden Gate Bridge)

    • Attacked by aliens in Pacific Rim

Some other cities around the world destroyed by aliens: Rio De Janeiro, Toronto (Canada), Singapore, Beijing, Jerusalem, Tehran, Moscow, Rome, Berlin, London, Paris and many many others. (Thanks to this complete list of destroyed cities on Reddit.)

So why do movie makers seem obsessed with destroying or demolishing NYC and Washington, D.C.?

  • Movie makers want to appeal to the biggest audiences.

  • Movies are visual media.

  • Bad-ass aliens and monsters only really look bad-ass when they take down another bad-ass power.

Cities contain big audiences. 8.5 million in NYC. 6 million in Washington, D.C. 8.9 million in Mexico City, another city that’s been destroyed a lot in movies. 13 million in Rio De Janeiro, blasted by a meteor sent by the alien bugs in Starship Troopers.

But why NYC?

NYC is known world-wide. Set your movie there and most everyone in the world has heard of it.

Many people in the world see NYC as the symbol of American financial dominance. That was why Al-Qaida attacked the World Trade Center. According to the Institute for Global Analysis of Security, that cost $100 billion. Big impact for financiers.

Another reason to set alien invasion/monster movies in NYC is … skyscrapers.

The NYC skyline is nothing BUT skyscrapers. Destroying a skyscraper is an easy way to get the visual kicks movies require:

  • Chunks fly off to crash onto streets full of panicked, screaming people (and a traffic jam, of course).

  • Ignite one with your alien’s favorite flame weapon and watch the giant torch burn as terrified people jump to their deaths onto the streets full of panicked, screaming people (and a traffic jam, of course).

  • Have a giant monster topple one and trigger a domino cascade of building after building, toppling onto streets full of etc., etc., etc.

For low-budget film makers, there’s probably so much stock footage of NYC that you could make an entire movie using stock footage. Just film your alien/monster on a green screen, add stock background. (You’re welcome, if your next low-budget movie wins an Oscar.)

So since NYC is such a wonderful target, why target Washington, D.C.?

D.C. is chockful of politicians and lawyers, probably not very high on many people’s list of “Those who must be saved at all costs”. So destroying Washington, D.C., might be popular amongst some of the audience. But then, NYC is also chockful of lawyers, and something even worse: financiers. Many of us have not forgiven financiers for crashing the economy a few years ago.

I think we can really blame its popularity (as a target for destruction) on the USA itself.

The USA has been a world superpower since the end of World War Two. (Which it ended by inventing the ultimate bomb of all human war weapons, the atomic bomb.)

Washington, D.C., is THE symbol of American political power. also in the city is the Pentagon, THE iconic symbol of American military supremacy. Plus I’ve always loved the Washington Memorial: Tall, thin, just begging to be a target.

Want your city-destroying aliens to look like the ultimate bad-ass power? Have them destroy D.C. Specifically the White House and the Pentagon. Then topple the Washington Monument as a casual afterthought.

Or have your hero in his giant robot fighting suit grab it and spear the giant alien monster he’s fighting.

Have fun blasting movie cities!

Another year further from the high school freshman who had discovered writing the summer before and bravely started sending out his poetry and stories. Didn’t sell any stories, but won a couple of cash-paying poetry contests, so he managed a $400 profit that first year.

Yay me.

Advice to musicians, writers, artists and creative people everywhere: Pursue your dreams when you’re young. It’s much easier!

  1. Read Ted Chiang’s Nebula Award-winnig novella Story of your llfe
  2. Think about how you could turn it into a movie treatment. What would be the story in the movie?
  3. Write that story in a couple of paragraphs.
  4. Repeat #2 and #3 until you run out of ideas.
  5. Go see the movie when it comes out, and think about how it was like and different from your ideas.

    Or, if you prefer, see the movie first, write your ideas of the story, then read the novella.

    So how’d it turn out for you?

    [2016.2.21: Edited to add link to the pictorial poem mentioned below.]

    My writing and creativity (and this blog) haven’t gotten much of anywhere lately.

    “Why’s that?” maybe you ask. (Or maybe you’re still thinking about your worst enemy?)

    A few things:

    • The quote “Life happens while you have other plans.”
      I’m currently employed full time doing other things elsewhere. So there’s the usual problem of (1) a hunk of time spent each week and (2) the resulting lack of available energy once (1) has been completed.
    • I’m the resident tech support person. So in the last few months:
      • Had to replace my wonderful wife’s netbook after it finally became intolerably slow, old and parts of the keyboard stopped working.
      • Said netbook replacement included learning enough Windows 10 (filthy piece of spyware!) to:
        • Upgrade its factory-installed Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 (that took four days, thanks for finally getting around to offering the upgrade, Microsoft!)
        • Add Ubuntu Linux to it (which is what she uses – she hasn’t fired up Windows 10 even once!!!)
      • Migrated my laptop from a nice-but-gone-dormant Linux distribution to a more current one, so I could upgrade some creative programs I use.
      • Dealt with running out of drive space on the household server (What, 4 terabytes isn’t enough???!!!!).
      • Dealt with said server deciding to overheat and keel over when the both case fans both decided to quit working simultaneously.
      • Replace a dead amplifier for my music work.
    • Make digital versions of hymns for my church, St. Nicholas’s Episcopal Church, Kapolei. That’s been a big change for my church, since in its nine years of life, we’ve almost never once done a traditional hymn.
    • Taken, processed and posted photos for said church. Lately, mostly processed, since I’m trying to cut back on my photography effort there. Today I just posted the past four weeks worth of pictures, check them out. Most are by my friend Kevin, who has been enjoying his Christmas present, a shiny new Olympus DSLR.
    • And various other sundries just to keep things interesting.

    Now some of those things needed to be done, so there was some justification for doing them.

    But the times when I didn’t have other things to do, and had some energy available, I have to honestly say that I’ve rarely done any creating:

    • I have one pictorial poem, hope to put it up here. That one originated on the tablet, so it’s always been available to work on.
    • Prepared and printed a couple of good-sized (22″x10″) panoramas from a trip we made a couple of years ago to Napa, California.
    • Prepared a large panorama of the Honolulu-Diamond Head shoreline. If printed, it would be 17′ long!!!

    One good thing from the last few months’ effort: I’ve finally caught up on ALL OF MY UNPROCESSED PHOTOS! 🙂

    But I still have a storm of stories and ideas for stories, music and pictures. When I look at doing one of them:

    • Lazy Me decides he’d rather look at email, or read something on the web or Twitter, or read a book. (I’ve read a lot more books than I’ve usually done.)
    • Sensitive Me would also rather not do the stories that hurt. 😦
    • Indecisive Me can’t decide which one to work on, anyway.

    So I added a new item to my To Do list, something to help me decide which of the hundreds of stories/ideas to do.

    So let’s see how long it takes me to complete that item. 😉