jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
I've been seeing this meme in various places, and it's been a while since I posted one, so why not? :)

In no particular order...

--Mark Danielewski, House of Leaves. It's messed up, it parallels my favorite album of 2000 (his sister Poe's Haunted), it challenges what a printed book should look like and how it should be read, you can spend years analyzing it and still come up with different meanings to the plot, and overall, it's a hell of a lot of fun to read. One of my all-time favorites, it's a great example of writing outside the usual boundaries of fiction.

--Dave Sim, the Cerebus comic series. Sure, Sim kind of turned into a nutcake in the last quarter of the series (he's really calmed down since then), but I have to give him credit and mad props for creating fascinating characters with depth (even if they end up being jackasses), fascinating art (especially when Gerhard jumped on board), and writing a finite three-hundred issue story arc during a time when comic books rarely did so. I learned a lot about character interaction in this series, actually.

--Katsuhiro Otomo, AKIRA. Another comic series, yes, but one that was absolutely brilliant in its execution. One of the best SF/supernatural storylines I've ever read. Visually stunning and an excellent example of storytelling from a somewhat different culture. From this series I learned about ensemble casting, unconventional POVs, and how to keep the story going even when the scene is completely internal.

--Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. My favorite of the series is still Book 2, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but the first book is filled with some of the best ridiculous, self-mocking British humor out there.

--Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front. This one always stayed with me since I first read it during the summer of 1989--probably one of the first classics I read in high school that wasn't assigned to me! It's fascinating in its delivery, both sad and lighthearted at the same time as the characters try to make the best out of a really bad situation.

--JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. Believe it or not, I never read this all the way through until just recently, around 2006. [I attempted it in junior high around 1985, but had little patience/attention for it at that time.] I think reading it as an adult made more sense, as I was able to grok what he was trying to do with it. It's by no means a perfect story, but still one of the best examples of detailed worldbuilding out there.

--Ira Robbins, The Trouser Press Record Guide. I no longer own this, but the 1986 edition was the one that blew the doors off for me in regards to music collecting, rock music in general, and informing me on just how many albums I was expected to have in my then-growing collection. My listening habits changed drastically after I read this book--and yes, I did take notes.

--Madeline L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time. My sister handed this to me when I was a kid and thought I'd like it. That I did! It was probably my first introduction into reading SF/Fantasy, and still one of my favorites.

--Simon Reynolds, Rip It Up and Start Again. A relatively recent book by a brilliant music writer, it's about the post-punk scene of the late 70s-early 80s, but in the process it explains how that scene eventually morphed into the early years of alternative rock as we now know it. This was the first book I picked up when I started planning writing about the college rock years with Walk in Silence, and it really helped piece a lot of things together for me.

--Lee J Hindle, Dragon Fall. Yep, I've talked about this one before. The book that got me writing seriously in the first place--the one where I thought "hey--I could do this too."
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Hey there! Haven't done a meme in awhile, and the writing ones are always fun to do. [Yes, I am procrastinating by doing this instead of working on revision, why do you ask? :p ] [ profile] queenoftheskies hit me up on this, and I'm supposed to tag a few other people after I'm done...not sure who I can ask, though, since every other writer I know has already done it!

So! Without further ado...some of you will already know some of this already, as I've been working on this particular project for quite some time and have posted about it in the past, but I figure if you're visiting from Twitterworld or one of my writer friends' sites, it's a good introduction. And besides, I think it's FINALLY at a submission level of quality that I'm happy with.

1) What is the working title of your book?
A Division of Souls. All the book titles in the Eden Cycle are similar in format (Book 2 is The Persistence of Memories and Book 3 is The Process of Belief).

2) Where did the idea for the book come from?
New Age Spirituality. I thought it would be a really neat idea to take the idea of the human soul's origination coming from somewhere other than Earth, and create a society out of that. Mind you, it's a lot darker and more dangerous than those books you see in that section in the bookstore. The SF angle came from watching the anime Gall Force and its two sequels, specifically its circle of life theme.

3) What genre does it fall under?
Fantasy. There are some space and 'other world' things going on, but a majority of the trilogy takes place in a sprawling city, and much of the action fits better as fantasy.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I've toyed with this quite a bit in previous stories, but not really all that much in this one. I always pictured Alec Poe being played by Keifer Sutherland circa mid 90s. I've always seen Caren Johnson being played by Kristen Cloke around the time she was in Space: Above and Beyond. In fact, this one scene is a perfect example of how I see Caren being played. The other characters I've never quite seen with any particular actors, just those two.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Human and alien, we are all related in one way or another...but it's hard as hell to keep the peace when the balance of life and belief is disrupted and irrevocably changed. [Geh, I could do better than that!]

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'd like to do the latter, and hope to have something ready for prospective agents by 2013. But I won't be too worried if I end up doing the former. In fact, I'm okay with small press as well. I'm consistently doing my homework on this one.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Hah! Which one, the crappy version, aka The Phoenix Effect? Probably about a year and a half. I wrote the bulk of it longhand at the food court before I went to work, and transferred it to the PC when I got home. A complete rewrite of that ended up being the trilogy in its current form. A Division of Souls took about a year and some change, most of it done directly to PC; same with Book 2. Book 3 took about a year and change, a five-year hiatus, and then another three months or so of finally finishing it. If you want to get technical, the seed of the story actually came to me sometime in 1993 but it would take a few more years and a lot more false starts before I got anywhere with it.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hmm, good question. There's a bit of influence from Richard Paul Russo's Carlucci series, maybe a bit of Cory Doctorow's lighter works and Johnathan Lethem's early stuff. I'm nowhere near as good as they are, of course. ;)

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
If you can believe this, one of those throwaway supermarket paperbacks about New Age beliefs. I'd been following New Agey stuff for awhile, but the extra-terrestrial spin was new to me and gave me a lot of interesting ideas.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It's got its own conlang! No worries, it's relatively easy to vocalize, and it's used just enough that you'll understand the intent of the words pretty quickly. In fact, communication has a very big part in this trilogy, be it vocalized, visualized or "sensed".

One of the things I'd like to do in 2013 is to have a few people beta read A Division of Souls. I've had a few people read past versions, but I'd like to have some read this current version, as I feel it's much better in quality and flow. If you're interested and able to do a bit of reading, let me know and I'll shoot a copy of a few chapters your way! :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Stolen from [ profile] dancinghorse and [ profile] aberwyn and [ profile] la_marquise_de_...

The rules:

1. Go to page 77 (or 7th) of your current ms
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.

Since I divvy up my manuscripts by chapter and don't put page number headers up until much later, I had to do a bit of math here...but it looks like it ended up being somewhere near the end of Chapter 3 of Love Like Blood. Come to find out, it's one of my favorite scenes!

Shrieking gave way to ecstatic hooting and hollering. Enclavers lined the roofs of the buildings on Boylston Street. They stood between the two short spires above the church's doors...and on top of the eaves...hell, I think saw a few on top of the tall building the next street over. They were on top of the Fairmont Hotel on the south side of the square, a good few hundred of them...and I was sure if I looked up behind me, there would be a phalanx standing on the library roof.

All of them vampires.

Over a thousand of them, all here in this one spot.

All because of me.

Suddenly Duncan and the black blur shot towards then past me to my left, so close I felt their breath as they flew past, the blur's leather duster flapping by me and snapping against my arm, leaving a stinging welt even underneath my own jacket. I twirled around from the force of their move, almost shoved off balance, only to catch myself just as I heard a hard
THOCK against the library’s granite façade. I looked up...both had landed sideways against the granite for a few brief seconds, both of them on their haunches, breathing heavily and staring and snarling at each other.

I finally had a good look at who was kicking Duncan’s ass.

Cassandra glanced at me, winking and flashing a fang. “Hey,” she said.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
(Five questions...comment here and I'll throw them your way!)

1) I've been re-visiting Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (whacking good yarns, if not particularly gender-issue-transcendent) and I'm steeling myself for the time when I finish the whole lot. Is there anything new that's worth reading in the sword & sorcery field, that you know of?

Believe it or not, I never really got into the whole sword & sorcery thing...for some reason it never clicked with me. I'm more of a magic fantasy person, to be honest. And if anything, I always say that you can't go wrong with Kate Elliott in that respect, because she's a damn fine writer who creates absolutely beautiful worlds.

2) Thinking back to the games you had on older platforms (say, the C=64) are there any games you'd still play if you could get them up and running on your current machine?

Every now and again I have this hankering to play Lemonade Stand and Jungle Hunt and all the other games I had on floppies in high school. I'm pretty sure they have emulators out there that have these games now, I'd just have to look for them.

3) How's the Squier working out?
Quite nicely, actually! Believe it or not, I haven't yet plugged it into the tiny practice amp I have, so I don't really know how it sounds amplified. I pick it up every now and again to practice, and I'm slowly getting back to the level I was at years ago. Which of course means I still have a hell of a long way to go to actually be good, but's a hell of a lot of fun to play.

4) Have you found a beatbox yet?
Not yet, actually, but I haven't been actively looking. Any suggestions? I don't need anything big and shiny, just something that does what it needs to do and doesn't get drunk before the show. ;)

5) Onomatopoeia skills, ENGAGE: the sounds of the Republican prospective candidate of your choice being loaded into a trebuchet and flung in the general direction of a herd of buffalo.

*grunnnk* *grunnnk* *grunnk* *clik* FIRE! schwwwaaaaaaaaaAAAAAFWOOOOOOOOOMPH!* *thweeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooowwwwwww* *skff skf nom nom mrrrp nom skff skuff* *....fffffwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-- *SKLORNCHT* *MROOOOOOOOOOOOWW!* *tkoink blat clonk [cuckoo-cuckoo]....BOOMF*
jon_chaisson: (Default)
(snagged from [ profile] aberwyn :) )

What I'm reading: Currently reading Frank Brady's Orson Welles biog, Citizen Welles.

What I'm writing: Revising A Division of Souls and doing a damn good job of it! :)

Nearest book to Computer: That would be my bookcase o' reference, so...that would be the Barbara Ann Kipfer's Flip Dictionary that I got through WD Books...still a great reference, since my caffeine-addled brain tends to forget simple words now and again. :)

The book I love most: Hmm, good question. Probably Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves?

Last book I got as a gift: Richard Neer's FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio, which I got for Christmas, after losing my old copy years ago. A very interesting read.

Last book I gave as a gift: The Just Bento Cookbook I gave [ profile] emmalyon for Christmas. :)

What I'll read next: After reading [ profile] kateelliott's Crossroads trilogy (I just finished it last night), I'm taking in some shorter standalones to get through the TBR pile. In my bag is F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which I haven't read since high school.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
1) If you'd like to play along, reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2) You then list (and upload, if you feel like it) 5 (or 6 or 7) songs that start with that letter (feel free to explain why you chose the songs).
3) Then, as I'm doing here, you'll post the list to your journal with the instructions.

[ profile] qahawthorne gave me 'R', so...

Elvis Costello, "Radio Radio"
Of course I had to grab this one! The namesake of my RTS series from 2005, and pretty much one of my theme songs. ;)

Air, "Remember"
Their album Moon Safari is still one of my favorites of the 90's. Extremely retro yet so cool in so many ways.

Pink Floyd, "Run Like Hell"
Probably my favorite track from The Wall. One of the original songs that inspired a scene in my Infamous War Novel.

The Beatles, "Rain"
This is such an odd song of theirs, considering the time frame (mid-1966), just before they released Revolver, but indicative of their growing out of the simple pop love songs they were so used to writing and heading towards experimentation. Ringo states this is one of his favorites in terms of his drumming.

Sting, "Russians"
I love songs that evoke a certain emotion, even more when they evoke not just a mood but a time. In this case I don't mean this song evokes the Cold War of the 80s, more like this song evokes a cold winter evening, at least to me. I'm not a big Sting fan, but I've always liked this track.

Tribe, "Rescue Me"
Oh man. Tribe was the BEST Boston band of the early 90s for me. I highly suggest them to anyone. And of course every guy in Boston (including me) thought singer Janet LaValley was dead hot and had a damn sexy voice. It's a pity they never got huge. On the plus side, though...three of its members became part of a Cambridge-based software company and helped develop one of the most popular video games out there today.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Well, since I've actually been in a few bands (okay, so we never played out, but hey--it was fun), I know a good number of songs, so just for fun:

First guitar solo learned: Tears for Fears' "Shout"
First song I taught myself on piano, John Lennon's "Love"
Song I know how to play best on air drums: Rush's "Tom Sawyer"
Song The Flying Bohemians covered, to very amusing effect: Guns n' Roses' "Used to Love Her"
Song I'd love to recreate live with real instruments: MARRS' "Pump Up the Volume"
Song I'd love to do live to blow people's minds (okay, the ones my age who know this song at any rate): The Bee Gees' "Every Christian Lion-Hearted Man Will Show You"

And for an embed: a song I never get sick of playing on the bass:

I never noticed just how cool John Paul Jones was of a bass player until I heard this song. Simple yet a hell of a lot of fun to play. In fact, I learned a lot of bass playing as a young kid by playing along with the first Led Zepplin album.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Okay, since I've posted Stump's "Buffalo" a number of times, I bring you a song that makes me laugh, partly because it pops into my head at the most inopportune moments:

The sad thing is that I can quote this song on the fly. :p
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Fifteen books you've read that will always stay with you. You have fifteen minutes to think of them. Go.

1. Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves
2. Lee J. Hindle's Dragon Fall (inspired me to start writing)
3. Richard Paul Russo's Carlucci
4. Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine
5. Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing
6. JN Stroyar's The Children's War
7. JK Rowling's Harry Potter series (okay, that's 7 books, but I'm counting as 1 here)
8. Douglas Coupland's Generation X
9. Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front
10. JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (sure, I FINALLY read it after all these years...and yes, I LOVED it. :p )
11. Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome
12. pretty much most of the late 50s-early 60s Peanuts collections from Charles Schulz
13. Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
14. Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time
15. Steve Kluger's My Most Excellent Year
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Heh, I nearly forgot about doing this today. Thanks for the reminder, Nim!

This was actually an amusing question that would get bandied about with my circle of friends in high school, as a lark. Cuz, you know, we listened to the Cure and the Smiths and all that at the time. Which meant that The Smiths' "Asleep" was my song of choice.

Now? Definitely "In My Life".

I think that one sums it up nicely. :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Well, being that our wedding was 5 years ago and we did it privately, and we didn't have a big blowout until a few months later, I'll post one of the odder songs that was on the cds we had on shuffle in lieu of a deejay:

Quite possibly the goofiest love song ever written, hands down. ;)

Oh, and if you're curious, I already posted "our song" here, on our anniversary. :)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
Yeah, I'm a bit late on this, sorry!

Hmm...I think I may have to jump into the wayback machine for this one, since I'm not really one to have a soundtrack for sadness anymore...

The Cure, "The Figurehead". Pretty much anything off the Pornography album fits this one--it, along with Depeche Mode's Black Celebration, got a lot of heavy listening my junior and senior years in high school when I was the morose bastard that felt sorry for myself.

On the plus side, I worked out that anger/depression/wallowing by learning how to play the basslines to this album, so at least some good came out of it! :)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
Say, any of you fellas seen Murgatroyd?

Sure, I don't go out of my way to listen to this when I'm happy, but I heard this playing on the radio at the grocery store around the corner today and it totally made my day. :)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Oh, I could give you a list of stuff I used to listen to during my Angry Young Man days back in the 80s...

Ministry's "Flashback" was always good for those moments you just wanted everyone to eff off...especially since the lyrics are violent and amusingly bad at the same time. Nine Inch Nails' "Terrible Lie" was good especially my freshman year in college. And of course there's Public Image Ltd's "Angry" which I actually quoted in an essay I had to write for english class in high school.

A recent song, though?

This has pretty much been my anger song for the last few years, I think for obvious reasons. ;)
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
Hmm...this one is interesting. Back in my HMV days, I tried to tap into a lot of what was being played, mostly through listening to the new releases and imports we got in. Nowadays in the age of the intarwebs, it's kind of hard to think of a song that would fit this meme ( although I certainly would not mind hearing "Paper Valentines" on the radio).

That said...back in my HMV days, I was surprised I never heard this song on the radio, since I thought it was downright brilliant. This is one of those rare songs I hear where it only takes me one listen to deem it a classic and one of my favorites ever.

(Of course, a lot of you might know it better as the opening credits to House...)

You can see the official (unembeddable) video here. I never saw this video until a few years later. I actually had visualized my own idea, and it would have been something along the lines of the start of a spring rainstorm...some people starting to run indoors, closing windows, etc., except for one person who stands outside to watch it. At the same time, we see the formation of a raindrop in the clouds and slowly falling towards earth (yay CG animation!), and at the very last note, it falls on the cheek of that one person, just under the eye, like a teardrop. Yes, I know, arty, and I wish I'd have had the chops to make something like that. :p
jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
I know I posted this song before, but this is one of my favorites at the moment, and I'm quite happy that 92.3 has been playing it frequently.

Civil Twilight, "Letters from the Sky"
jon_chaisson: (Default)

You know, I used to like the Strokes, until I noticed:

--there's no bass in Julian Casablanca's vocals. It's all treble.
--Dudes, the 70s NYC junkie look went out in the mid-70s.
--[ profile] emmalyon and [ profile] lynxreign pointed out that they're a "C+ band". In other words, they're doing the minimum, but not trying any harder. I think this video is testament to that. ;)

That said, however...DJ Freelance Hellraiser did a brilliant job back in '02 mixing their also half-assed "Hard to Explain" with Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" for one of the best mashups EVER.

jon_chaisson: (Tunage)
Okay, I don't hate them per se, they just have a knack for writing songs that are okay upon first listen but really start grating on me after the millionth time I hear them on the radio within the span of a few days.

jon_chaisson: (Default)

Okay, so I was more of a teenage anarchist in the Morrissey sense ("You want turn the world on its head by staying in bed") or the Billy Bragg sense ("Revolution is just a tee-shirt away"), but still...I like to think this one fits me growing up in a small town to some extent. :P

Kind of a disturbing video, though...! O_O
jon_chaisson: (Default)

Dude. Straight out of the gate on this clip, they show the best part of Donizetti's Daughter of the Regiment, possibly one of the most fun opera's I've ever been to see. Not too many guys can hit that high C there!


jon_chaisson: (Default)

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