20 September, 2015

[Movie review] I have a problem

and the first step is admitting it: I will get hung up on an actor or actress, and watch just about anything with that person in it. And yes, that includes horrible, D-grade horror movies.

Recently, I've gotten caught up on Sage Brocklebank (probably best known for his role as Buzz McNab on Psych), as I picture he would be perfect for playing Aidan from my current short story project, No Signal. You know--if it were ever adapted into a movie.

So I searched Netflix, and while his appearance is hit or miss on Psych for only being a reoccurring role, he was billed for a horror film called "Severed: Forest of the Dead". So I popped it on to watch, and yeah Sage was in it, for all of maybe 40 seconds. So sad. They missed an opportunity to utilize him further, as I don't think he even ended up as one of the zombies.

Anyway, I watched the whole thing hoping to spot Sage as a zombie. I didn't. What I did spot were some things that, as a writer, really bugged the crap out of me.

For starters, when the rag-tag group of survivors try to make their initial escape, they reach a bridge that the main character had just driven across not 2-hours earlier movie-time, and yet the gate was suddenly closed off--Who closed it?--and rather than climb the fence or slip through the gaps in the fence--which, even though was laced with barbwire, had significant room for the characters to take a jacket off and work as a team to pull the barbwire out of the way for them to climb through one at a time. Yes, they used the excuse that the nearest town was "200 miles away on foot", but seriously, would you rather stay in the place laced with zombies, or take your chances on a lone highway and the chance to get picked up by a random car and driven to safety?

How I would've done the scene differently: as I said, have the characters use a jacket to pull the barbwire out of the way, and as the first person starts climbing through, have the zombies show up, attack them, and the majority have to flee, thereby leaving the lone person caught in the fence-line to either make it to the other side to safety, or be the sacrificial lamb.

The second thing that irked me was that the survivors are banded together in a lumber mill, and the zombies are lumberjacks. And yet, only one chainsaw was used one time to kill one zombie. Okay, there was a giant saw that a zombie stumbled into, but still. There've got to be hundreds of zombies out there, which meant there were at least that many chainsaws. I expected more Chainsaw On Zombie action.

The other thing that irked me was the same thing that irked me about Dawn of the Dead: you have a crack-shot among the survivors who seems to have an ample supply of bullets, and rather than headshotting the zombies so they have that many less zombies to deal with, they turn it into a game of chance. Personally, I'd rather someone headshot the zombies so they're down long enough for the others with the chainsaws axes to hack off the head so the zombies are no longer rampaging.

I suppose this is why I hardly ever watch horror movies, as I sit here critiquing them for the characters' inability to form a sound escape plan. Overall, though, compared to the number of horror movies I have watched, I'd give this one a C+, as I was entertained for the most part.

Movie review done, it's time for me to get back to work on my to do list. Currently, I have to finish this short story for publishing next month, then I have to get back to Comeuppance, and ready it for publication for February 2016. I have more revisions to do for Tragedy of Ice, and then I have the novel expansion for No Signal to work on for when I get the publishing rights back for the short story.

Until next time, folks :)

05 September, 2015

I'm alive, I swear!

Yikes! My last post was the tail-end of June, and here I'd promised more frequent updates. My apologies, folks.

Lessee . . . bringing you up to speed, I'm taking a break from editing Tragedy of Ice at the moment while I work on a romantic short story for an anthology called The Bowman's Inn. I'll be submitting a short for their Autumn collection, which is on schedule to be published in October of this year.

The short story exploded, too. I wrote out the short, then decided before doing revisions to do some free-writing, to get a better handle on the main characters. Well, it became 11,000 words of back story. Then another 18,000 words of back story. Now it's 54,000+ words (including the word count for the short story), and I can still do more with it.

I've decided that once the publishing rights revert back to me for the short story, I'm going to release it as an expanded romance novel. I'm looking forward to it, as I think it'll be a great treat for those who want to read more about the characters' shared history.

Aside from that, I've got to get back to my Appalachian Dream Tales soon. If I want to stay with my publishing schedule for those, then the next one, "Comeuppance", will be out in February 2016. Once I'm through the milestone with my Bowman's Inn short story (which, btw, the name for it is "No Signal"), I'll be back on course, doing the revisions for "Comeuppance" and getting the story cover ready to premiere.

That said, I doubt I'll be able to do much writing this weekend, as it's the holiday and family is in visiting from out of state. Going forward, I think what I'll try to do for the next few months is bring you folks a bi-monthly update. I'll shoot for every 15 days, so look for my next post near September 20th.

See you then!

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Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of No Signal, Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.