Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mail list up and running!

The mailing list is finally up and running!  So you can click on the link over there to your right and join if you’re so inclined.

Please sign up!  I promise not to spam you with tons of unsolicited emails.  Things I will email you about: 

  • New Releases
  • Sales or Free Promotions
  • New Blog Posts, occasionally, if I think it’s worthy of attention
  • Other releases by indie authors that I like and have read

To sign up, use this link:  Scott Dyson Books

Other ways to keep up with me besides reading this blog:

If you read this post and sign up for the list, I will gift you a free Kindle ebook from the following titles:

  • THE CAVE
  • 14 DARK WINDOWS
  • DIE 6
  • THE STRIKER FILES

When you sign up, please use the “Contact Me” page to tell me which book you want. 

I have a few new releases almost ready to come out, so look for them in the very near future! 

Thank you in advance for signing up!

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Hello!  Long time, no see!

I can’t say that I’m back, but I figured I thought I’d try to keep up with this blog a little bit more than I have been.  I’ll try to toss up a post now and then. 

So why the long absence?  I dunno, just life.  We traveled a bit this summer, I had stuff to do with my mom’s condo, work’s been busy, oldest is going off to college, youngest had some band things like parades.  In between, I actually have been writing a little bit.  Not finishing much.  Not publishing much.  Just writing.

And I’ve also seen a few movies.  On DVD/BluRay, I saw Logan, DeadPool 2, The Dark Knight, and several from the X-men universe.  On the airplanes, I watched Star Trek (the rebooted version), Thor: Ragnarok, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.  In the theater, I saw Mamma Mia:  Here We Go Again, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant Man and The Wasp, Black Panther, and Solo

Notice anything that they have in common?  Oh, yeah.  A bunch of them are superhero movies. I watched them with my sons, for the most part, and I found that I enjoyed them.  Do they make sense all the time?  No.  Are there plot holes big enough to drive trucks through?  Yes.  Does the science violate all principles of physics at times?  Yes, again.  

Are they pure escapist fun?  Yes!

I don’t always need something that’s going to address a serious theme, though I would say that these superhero movies do at times tackle some deeper issues.  Not in the same way as something like the Three Billboards movie did; that tackled a bunch of issues head on and rather directly.  These movies take on issues tangentially, a glancing blow if you will.  Black Panther dealt with racism and haves vs. have-nots, but not in such a way that it always related to our own experience in real life.  Yet I feel like viewers take away some lessons, maybe even better than they do from some other movies, because they recognize the injustice in a different way and internalize it.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  (shrug)  Avengers movies also often show strong female characters who kick butt and take names.  Don’t want to mess with Black Widow or Scarlett Witch or Gamora. 

But mostly, they’re simple morality plays.  Good versus evil.  The evil is pretty easy to spot and identify in these movies; even Thanos, who tries to make the case that he’s doing what he’s doing in order to SAVE the universe, is clearly the evil one in Infinity War.  The superheroes, even when they’re conflicted themselves (like they were in Civil War), are still always good. 

There’s something very cool about this huge story arc that’s occurred over something like eighteen movies now.  They’ve all built up to what we’re waiting for in Avengers 4: Untitled Infinity War Part Two.  They’ve been remarkably consistent and faithful to this story arc.  It’s very fun to watch the older movies and see the events of them in light of what we’ve seen in Infinity War.  They all have added something to the overarching story that’s inspired a ton of discussion online. 

Mostly, for me, they’ve been just fun.  A joy to watch.  I pooh-poohed my son’s enjoyment of them for the longest time, but he finally dragged me in, and now I’m a fan too. 

It would be terrific fun to try to write a story like this.  Maybe someday I’ll try it.

Oh, and Solo was very good, too.  Much better than I was led to believe by the reviews and online comments I saw.  Everyone who sees it seems to like it.  Star Wars fans are the worst.  They micro-examine everything for faithfulness to some story and canon that mostly exists in their own heads.  Another fun movie with plenty of visual eye candy and a solid plot.  I hope they make more of the movies they were intending to make before this one “failed” by not meeting Disney’s financial expectations, a failure that I believe has more to do with competing with themselves (Infinity War, Incredibles 2, and Ant Man and The Wasp), the other blockbuster superhero movie (Deadpool 2) and graduations and graduation parties, the beginning of summer break, and summer vacations, as well as with the expectation that Star Wars movies come out in the late fall/early winter.  It deserved better than it got. 

Back to writing (I hope).

*****

Box Unchecked. :-(

The mailing list is not working.  It has to do with the email address I am using. 

I plan on getting it working at some point, but for right now, there is still no list.   At least not one that actually works. 

In other news…nada.  While I do have four new projects ready to go, I have decided to NOT publish any of them until I have the mailing list thing sorted out.  Still working on the Addison Falls horror, the post-apocalyptic story, and the space opera.  Others are on the back burner.  I wish something would grab me, strike my fancy, call out to me to write on it. But nothing has really done so.

Watch this space for the mailing list sign-up information once I get it up and running.  Until then, HAGS  (as the kids say).*

(* have a great summer)

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Mailing List!

I finally checked off a box on the to-do list: I set up a Mailchimp Mailing List!

Please sign up!  I promise not to spam you with tons of unsolicited emails.  Things I will email you about: 

  • New Releases
  • Sales or Free Promotions
  • New Blog Posts, occasionally, if I think it’s worthy of attention
  • Other releases by indie authors that I like and have read

To sign up, use this link:  Scott Dyson Books

Other ways to keep up with me besides reading this blog:

If you read this post and sign up for the list, I will gift you a free Kindle ebook from the following titles:

  • THE CAVE
  • 14 DARK WINDOWS
  • DIE 6
  • THE STRIKER FILES

When you sign up, please use the “Contact Me” page to tell me which book you want. 

Thanks for signing up! 

*****

Movies I’ve seen…

I saw three movies recently:  one new and two old.

First was BLACK PANTHER.  My kids love Marvel superhero movies, and so I get dragged to a lot of them.  This one was no exception.  Yes, there are plenty of plot holes (if you want to know what they might be, go watch one of those “How It Should Have Ended” type videos where some witty You-Tuber analyzes the film.  I particularly liked the one that ended up being an economic tutorial which discussed the Wakondan monopoly on vibranium) but it’s a movie that addresses some serious issues and manages to entertain the hell out of you with tons of cool special effects and more action than most movies.  The actors are mostly good to great in quality, and I had fun watching it — more than I thought I would, because I’m NOT a huge fan of the superhero movies.  (I like them, but I’m not obsessed with them.)

The second movie I watched on YouTube, and it was called “Two of Us.”  As you might guess from the title, it’s about Paul McCartney visiting John Lennon in NYC on the day that SNL’s Lorne Michaels made his legendary offer of $3000.00 for a Beatles reunion on their stage.  It was an interesting character study which is loosely based (meaning, no one really knows what really happened that day) on real events of that day.  The actors had the mannerisms of their subjects down pretty well.  Aiden Quinn’s gestures were all pure McCartney. 

The last movie was one I watched on demand with my younger son the sports fanatic.  He wanted to watch MAJOR LEAGUE, and I agreed.  It’s not a great movie, but it IS a funny movie.  Lots of swearing and inappropriate jokes, but it was still funny after seeing it a number of times.  Charlie Sheen is very good as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and Wesley Snipes is also good as Willie Mays Hayes.  The locker room and baseball scenes are the best parts of the movie.  You need to laugh?  This is one movie that can succeed in making you do so.

And that’s it for today. 

*****

The Beatles

I know, this is supposed to be a writer’s blog.  I’m supposed to be posting stuff about what I’m working on, what’s ready for release, what’s already out there.  Maybe some stuff on the process of writing, and of course on other writers’ books and indie publishing. 

So what is this about a 1960’s pop band? 

Well, I haven’t been writing much — I’m not in a creative place, mentally, and the stories I have going are sort of stuck with me not having a clear picture of where to go from here.  But I have been reading a lot, and I’ve been listening to a lot of music.  Well, a lot of Beatles music.  I treated myself to a year of Sirius XM radio in the car, and I keep it tuned to the Beatles Channel (18), where I’ve been hearing lots of stuff I never heard before.  Not so much the Beatles’ tunes, but the covers, the stuff that influenced them, and the solo stuff from John, George and Ringo (I have almost everything Paul recorded as a solo artist and with Wings).

But with the Beatles songs that I am very familiar with (and those that I have a passing familiarity with), I’m hearing stuff that I didn’t know about them.  Alternate versions, information about when and how they were recorded, who played on them, what inspired them…that sort of stuff.  And as I listen to the songs, I realize how “loose” some of them are.  Even the later stuff.  There’s vocal stuff that was “thrown in” and left there, doesn’t sound rehearsed and is maybe a little off time or off key, but it works.  There are guitar parts and harmonies that weren’t perfect, bass lines that were a little sloppy at times, that weren’t cut and pasted like so many modern songs’ individual parts are. 

Most stuff I have listened to has a certain level of perfection in the recording itself.  Even the new wave/punk stuff.  It’s like even the parts that sound “sloppy” sound rehearsed, like they’d do the exact same sloppy bit every time.  I’ve been in the studio myself, recording on pro-level setups, and I remember doing a keyboard part that sounded perfect the first time I did it, and less so on subsequent takes.  The sound engineer (Craig Williams of Dr. CAW studios) took that first one, copied it, then pasted it everywhere in the song that it was supposed to be, about two or three other spots.  He’d then tweak it till it lined up perfectly and get rid of my original playing and just copy the good one in.  He did that with vocals and guitar licks and other things as well. 

There’s none of that in the Beatles’ recordings.  There seems to always be a spontaneity to each song, a joyfulness that you don’t hear in a lot of studio music.  There’s an interplay between John and Paul that comes through on a lot of songs, even later stuff when they were not the best of mates. 

This morning I heard “Hello Goodbye” and “All You Need Is Love” on the radio, back to back, and I became aware of this imperfection, but it didn’t matter.  The song was the song.  They both stand up incredibly well today as songs.  They didn’t have to be perfect because they were so strong on their own.  They’d be good if they were just being strummed on an acoustic guitar and hummed.  In fact, I have a couple CD’s by a guy named Lawrence Juber, who played in one of the incarnations of Paul’s Wings, and he does Beatles songs on acoustic guitar, no vocals, no other instruments, and they work!   

I am constantly amazed at the depth and joy I am finding in their work. 

On to more Beatles listening…

*****

 

What I’ve been reading…

I have been doing more reading than writing, though I did get a few thousand words written on my Addison Falls story. 

One of the authors I’ve been reading is V.J. Chambers.  She is a talented storyteller and a very good writer.  I’ve read both of her “Innocence Unit” books, GRAIN OF TRUTH (book 1) and TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES (book 2).  I also read a couple of horror stories by her, first BRIGHTER, about a small town which is very difficult to leave, then RATCATCHER, a modern day take on the Pied Piper mythology, featuring a rock star as the Piper.  I also read her female serial killer novel called THE FEMININE TOUCH.  All five were worthy reads. 

Chambers’ Amazon page is HERE

I also read Anni Taylor’s THE SIX.  It was a thriller about a woman addicted to gambling who is offered a chance for treatment on a Greek island in an old monastery.  Not only will she go through some unconventional therapy, she will also be paid as she wins challenges.  It goes from something seemingly plausible to something a little more exotic.  But it was still a lot of fun to read. 

Last, I finally finished up Christopher Moore’s THE SERPENT OF VENICE, which is an irreverent retelling of some Shakespeare stories with a little Poe tossed into the mix.  It started a little bit slowly, but once it kicked into gear, I could barely put it down. 

Several good reads recently, mostly for my Kindle.  (The Moore title was a remaindered hardcover.)

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Writer’s Block…

I don’t know if what I’m experiencing is writer’s block, exactly…but I’m having trouble with moving forward on the stories I have started.  I’m just not sure where to go with them. 

One is what I refer to as my “Addison Falls” horror story.  It features a teacher who moves to the strange town of Addison Falls, with its assortment of odd characters.  It’s a town where lots of strange things have happened over the years, and it definitely has a history.  And its residents seem to overlook the bad things that are happening in their midst.  It’s like, stuff just doesn’t register for them.  Even when their kids are disappearing.  But it registers with the teacher, and it registers with the young reporter who has been a resident for four years now.  So they investigate…

The second is a space opera.  I started out just trying to write the opening scenes of a movie.  A lone pilot, searching through space for salvageable debris, happens across a derelict spacecraft.  It is of alien design, and the pilot boards it and discovers that it isn’t totally empty.  It carries within a single passenger, one who is asleep in cryostasis.  And some bad folks are looking for this passenger, and they aren’t of this galaxy.  Yet they are very human…

Those are the two I’ve been working on.  I also have my 90K word post-apocalyptic novel going, but I needed a break from it.  Maybe I should try again on that one.  And then there’s this college horror novel that I was working on, featuring a girl who has transferred mid-term to a university because of some bad stuff that happened to her/around her at her previous large university.  And luckily for her, there is an opening in one of the dorms,  because the co-ed was found murdered off-campus.  But unluckily for her, her death is linked back to this dorm. 

Anyway, I have ideas about how they’re all going to end, but getting past the point I’m at right now seems to be a real challenge.  I don’t seem to have the creative juices to move forward on any of the stories. 

Maybe writing about them here will help.  We’ll see.  Stay tuned…

*****

It was thirty-seven years ago today…(well, yesterday)…


 

December 8, 1980, the world lost John Lennon: peace activist, musician, father, songwriter, and founding Beatle member.

I came to my Beatles fandom via Paul McCartney as a junior high school kid and high school kid. As a keyboard player, Paul’s songs like “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” “Lady Madonna,” “My Love,” and even “Live and Let Die” and “Oh, Darling” were more tempting to play than John’s guitar laden tunes. Of course I learned “Imagine” but it was Paul who I gravitated towards, buying most of his records the minute they came out. He’s the one I’ve seen four times.

But as I listen on Sirius XM’s Beatles Channel, I hear the genius of that early stuff, the stuff that Lennon sang and wrote. And I hear the maturity in his lyrics, the sophistication even, that I only get occasionally from Paul. A Paul song with a John line just seems — right. (“Getting Better” is the classic example, with Lennon’s “It can’t get much worse” line thrown in over the optimism.) “I Am The Walrus,” “Glass Onion,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “The Ballad of John and Yoko” — they are all songs you can listen to multiple times and always find new stuff to wonder about.

Paul is still my favorite; the only music act I’d pay big bucks to see live, but I appreciate John more and more as I listen to the Beatles Channel and hear more of his songs along with some commentary from people like Chris Carter and Peter Asher. I learn a lot. And I am thoroughly entertained. I do not get tired of listening to their songs, songs they were inspired by, and songs that others did as a tribute to them or a cover of their songs.

Remembering John Winston Lennon: 10/9/40 to 12/8/80

*****

I’m still here!

Just a quick post to let people know (assuming anyone is checking) that I’m still here.  Life has sort of gotten in the way of my writing projects.  I hope to get back to writing soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading a bit.  I finally finished Steven M. Moore’s two short story collections, PASODOBLES IN A QUANTUM STRINGSCAPE and FANTASTIC ENCORES.  There were a lot of really good short stories, perfect for reading on my Kindle before falling asleep.  I also have been reading a paranormal sampler from Amanda M. Lee called CASUAL HEX, which features four “first” books from four different series.  They are all pretty fun with a lot of snarky humor and a little bit of romance to go with the action and the paranormal mysteries.  CASUAL HEX and FANTASTIC ENCORES were both available for only $0.99.  There’s a lot of reading for less than two dollars.

I’ve also finished up books by Jonathan Kellerman, Harlan Coben, and Linwood Barclay.  All were good quick reads.  Kellerman’s was in the Alex Delaware series, while Coben’s was a standalone (though set in the same town as the Myron Bolitar books).  Barclay’s was a followup to his earlier NO TIME FOR GOODBYE, called NO SAFE HOUSE.

As my life settles down (and as I settle down), I hope to get motivated to do some writing.  Soon, I hope.  Till then, Happy Holidays (in case I don’t get back here before the end of the year…)

*****