Sunday, July 18, 2010

KILLER COWS Sci-Fi DVD Contest! (Read a great book, watch a great movie)

Well, kids & kids at heart, it’s time for a really fun little contest. Test your movie smarts and win a free sci-fi DVD of your choice!

The young adult novel, Killer Cows, makes numerous references to many other famous sc-fi and horror films. Some are directly mentioned, others more subtle. How many of those movie references can you find?

How to participate is simple. Simply read Killer Cows, listing as many of those movie references as possible, and reply to this blog entry with your list. Whoever lists the most will receive a free DVD of one of those movies! In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn randomly.

Be sure to include which title from your list you would like to recieve!

Killer Cows is available from these online retailers:

Echelon Press at Amazon:
Amazon Books:


BONUS DVD OPPORTUNITY! If yours is the winning entry, and you include the novel's 'magic words', you'll also recieve a free DVD of the film those words originally came from!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

KILLER COWS are Paperback!

The paperback copies of Killer Cows arrived at my doorstep today. Aside from the birth of my children, they are the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Two years of writing, revising and submitting, wrapped up in a glossy package with the title and my name on the cover. The only member of my family who didn’t care was my dog, who barked incessantly when the UPS driver dropped off the package.

It was almost surreal, opening the boxes and seeing my lifelong dream become a reality, neatly packaged in bubble wrap. This was different than receiving my acceptance letter from Echelon Press, different from reading the ebook edition of the novel, which has been out for months. Holding these books in my hands made all the hard work and toil worth it.

In an act of nepotism, I autographed all my own copies.

And, of course, like all flights of fancy, I'm already thinking who should be cast in the movie.

I’m now reading the book, sitting outside on a lawn chair with a Coke, the way I always envisioned other readers doing. And for the first time, I’m reading Killer Cows as a reader, not the writer, concerned with whether or not a particular scene or passage could have been written better. Unlike my wife, I didn’t skip to the last page (pointless, since I already know the ending), but knowing I could is cool.

Whether I become the next Jerry Spinelli or dwell in obscurity, I’ll never forget this day, and I have so many people to thank for it: Karen Syed (who said yes), Jenny Turner (who made a good book a great one), Melanie Stitch & Kelli Hernandez (both of whom read this in its rough form and gave valuable feedback), Laura Queen (my Yoda), Francie (my muse). Then, of course, there are my two girls, Natalie and Lucy, to whom Killer Cows is dedicated. I love you two dearly.

What a great day. I never want it to end.

I guess I should get cranking on that sequel now.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Overrated, Part 1


1. Starbucks - If you feel the incessant daily need to wait in line 20 minutes for a four dollar cup of coffee or a glorified milkshake, then you have way too much spare time on your hands. Shouldn’t you be at work by now?

2. Cell phones - None of you are so important that you need to be reached 24/7. Cell phones make people dumber, too, and I’m convinced one of the reasons writing scores in schools continue to drop is because kids are writing like they text.

3. American Idol - Remember when music artists wrote their own songs, played a real instrument and had to actually work to become famous? American Idol has almost single-handedly destroyed both the music and television industries, pandering to the most attention-deficit music fan, who measure talent based on how well some lounge lizard can belt out a 30 year old song. To make things worse, some of the idiots who’ve appeared on the show have managed to extend their 15 minutes of fame by coming out of the closet or writing 300 page autobiographies. If you feel the desire to read about the life of someone whose fleeting fame depends on the votes of bored TV viewers, then you have even more spare time than those poor saps waiting in line at Starbucks for their four dollar coffee fix.

4. Scarface - Embraced, loved and emulated by gangstas and gangsta wannabes. How many of them have actually watched this movie? If I wanted to spend three hours in the company of an irredeemable ass, I’d hang out with my neighbor more often. And do any of you really want to dress like that?

5. Blu-Ray - How many of you got rid of your perfectly functional DVD players just so the pock-marks on Kevin Costner’s face would be more noticeable? Geez, folks, how much clearer to you need your picture anyway?

6. The “Devil Horns” hand gesture - Immortalized by heavy metal pioneer Ronnie James Dio, this once-controversial hand gesture somehow loses its meaning when you see the latest homogenized, pre-teen pop idol, Justin Beiber, do the same thing while posing for a teen-magazine pin-up.

7. James Cameron - Am I the only one who thinks the only original movie he ever made was The Terminator (and even that one was so similar to a story by sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison that the author felt the need to sue). Yeah, we ooh and awe at the spectacle Cameron gives us on a 50 foot movie screen, but try watching his movies on TV, without bone-rattling sound or 3-D glasses. Only then can you see a movie like Avatar for what it really is…Dances with Wolves in the future. And, yeah, uber-Oscar-winning Titanic was fun, but only after the ship started sinking (90 minutes into the three hour movie!).

8. Michael Jackson - Hey, were you once considered a ground-breaking musical genius, only to become a walking punchline because of your meglomaniac, baby-dangling, boy-baiting behavior? Want to be beloved once again, like you were in the 80s, and have everyone forget all the idiotic, morally questionable and borderline psychotic things you did to kill your career in the first place? The answer is simple…just die.

9. The No Child Left Behind Act - Those who champion this mandate have not likely actually read it, which presumes the only way to measure whether or not a student is learning is through high-stakes math and reading tests.

10. Television - Back in the day, when we had only three to five channels, we had trouble finding anything worth watching. Now, with Direct TV, I have over 300 channels at my disposal, but still have trouble finding anything worth watching. And even when I do, I’ve spent so much time flipping through channels that I missed anything worth seeing.