I have over 30,000 Twitter followers. When I began this post I had tweeted exactly 10,400 times. No more, no less. Tweet #10,401 will be the first notice that I have written this post.
I am an author on Twitter and, honestly, I don’t think Twitter has led to many book sales really from the traffic. It does generate blog views, but never more than a third of what I get on a daily basis. The rest comes from subscribers and those who just seem to check me out from time to time. So what is this hold Twitter has on me that I keep returning and why do so many follow me?
For me, personally, Twitter is an ego trip. I admit that. Beyond the amount of followers, I get a huge kick out of sharing, retweets, and likes around my articles and books. And I especially love it when someone writes to me about my books usually to say they are reading one of them or enjoy it.
The fact is though I can’t imagine having a real friendship or relationship over Twitter. There almost needs to be a new word for the relationships built on this social network; somewhere below “acquaintance” but above “name recognition.” Yeah, it’s not like Facebook where a majority of my “friends” I have actually spoken to at one point. This is more like epic literary crowdsurfing for a writer. Like I am thrown to the sea of Twitter, riding my book like a boat. And there are thousands and thousands of other writers and readers like me on the rough sea in similar boats… and now and then we will see a Fail Whale. Making us at that moment the internet equivalent of Ahab.
Well, not this day. For on this day, for the first time in two years, I have decided to take a break and document my withdraw… Continue reading
As an adult, it takes a certain amount of courage to put on a costume. Let me correct that… it takes a certain amount of courage and alcohol to put on a costume.
A costume draws people’s eyes towards you almost like being on a stage except it’s more personable. There isn’t the protective separation because of spotlight and distance. It’s real, you are a dude dressed up and they can see you… and talk to you.
I have always been impressed with people that have the strength to put on a costume. I look at them with a certain amount of awe, even those that attempt the cheaper creations. Of course, there is nothing like a great one though. For example, there is a woman down the street that on Halloween will dress-up as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz and she has the look and cackle down perfectly. It can take a fan’s breath away… and also instinctively take two steps back in fright.
For me, I never feel more like an introvert than at this time of the year. I go into my shell as I hand out candies; always being sure to give a little bit more to the kids who look truly great.
Oh wait, does that make me a bad person? The fact I judge a kid’s costumes and award accordingly?
Actually the more I think about it, the more I am embarrassed I admitted that. Because even those in a bad costume are braver than me at that moment. But if I was to dress up… Continue reading
Every night my children go to bed with cheetah cubbies that may be leopards.
They are cheap stuffed toys, the kind you see at the front of lesser family restaurants. Nothing extravagant, but wherever they go in the house, they are usually in the same room, many times next to each other. And each evening, they are needed for nighttime or there might be tears.
The cheetahs started with my son when he realized how fast they were.
My son has always loved to run. Back when he used to go to daycare and I would pick him up, on every nice day he would be in the playground racing with his friends. The teacher would just shout “Go!” and watch the kids run around and around again, not considering it was the parents that had to deal with the kids with sweat-soaked hair that would always need a bath later.
Now my son wasn’t always the fastest, he did good, but there were always kids a little faster since they might be older or just plan bigger. But that didn’t matter to my son, he would always tell me on the way home how he won… even when we both knew he didn’t.
He was Dash from The Incredibles for Halloween when he was four then the year after that The Flash. Whenever either costume was put on he would get this look in his eye, scream “zoom” and take off running around our house hoping to find a bad guy some place.
A red blur of speed!
Last Christmas, my daughter gave her brother a giant stuffed cheetah. (Well, actually the parents did but she happily took credit for it, she was one then.) My son immediately declared it was the mommy cheetah, and they both happily agreed. The cheetah cubbies were grabbed and quickly were reunited.
They are now a family of cheetahs. Continue reading
Superman was always my favorite superhero. There was always a lost operatic elegance to his story in my opinion. Yes, he saves cats from trees and helps old ladies cross the street, but he is alone among us. One of us, and yet not really one of us. A lost relic of another world, another time.
One of my favorite character debates comes around Superman. See, I love breaking down what makes a character or a story work, and here is the one I always like to throw at writers, is Superman pretending to be Clark Kent or is Clark Kent pretending to be Superman.
I love that!
See, Christopher Reeve had Superman be the real person and Clark Kent the performance, but more recently, TV shows like Smallville and Lois and Clark had it the other way around. What does that mean really? Everything to the character, little to us in the real world, of course. Our boring and drab reality where men don’t fly, and magic and superpowers only survive in our imaginations.
I’ve been thinking a lot about superheroes over the last few years. Mostly that is because of my son. The one nearby me as I write this, wearing Justice League PJs, Star Wars slippers, and holding a Superman toy from the film Man of Steel. He is five. Continue reading
My life revolves right now around books.
Well… let me correct that. My life revolves right now around MY books. And that is not a bad thing. A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM was just published by Madison Street Publishing (you can find it for an incredibly reasonable price on amazon.com right here), I just ordered the proof copy of MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE to review, and I am debating what to do with PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS.
Remember PERMANENT SPRING SHOWERS? It was my novel experiment last year. I wrote a book in real time, one chapter a week. It was originally based on a screenplay, but that went out the window after chapter 2. It was a fun challenge and looking back I am really proud of myself for getting through it with my creativity in one piece. My hope is to find a publisher for the book later this year; of course, it really comes down to how good JANE and MAXIMILIAN do on the market (sales, reviews, etc.).
Until then, I need to be strategic around the book. Which means, as soon as I get a spare evening, I’ll probably be taking it down from my website. The page will stay up with my updates, insights and lessons learned on the process, you just won’t be able to read it. (For those that are still working their way through the book you have been warned.)
Anyway, with summer fast approaching, and the idea of a lot less on my plate, most of the things I am enjoying right now emphasize the word “fun” with only one little book reference in the list. Continue reading
I don’t know if I can say this as the dad of a five-year old, especially one who changes who his favorite superhero is every week, but for me, my favorite superhero has always been Superman.
And as a fan, it s a good year to be one of us (did you see the trailer for the new movie yet? Wow!). Today marks his 75th year on our planet, so I thought I would link to some of my earlier posts on the man of steel.
Book Review: Superman by Larry Tye
This is a book review for a great piece of nonfiction by Larry Tye. If you are curious about the origins of the character, the people that have played him, and the struggles of the creators (if you are a writer this stuff will floor you), grab this book. You can read the review here.
Recommending Four of GraphicAudio’s DC Audiobooks
I love GraphicAudio. If you have not heard a GraphicAudio audiobook you are really missing out. Basically, they are extremely well-produced audio readings of books with special effects, music, and a full cast of actors. Their tagline is “A Movie in Your Mind” and that is fairly accurate to what you get from them. In this blog post I recommend four of their audiobooks, many containing our favorite man of steel. They have a new Superman audiobook coming out in May and just recently did their first Marvel title. Trust me on this. Learn more via this link.
The Superhero Books of Ralph Cosentino
Ralph Cosentino has written three books for kids about superheroes; one on Batman, one on Wonderwoman, and, of course, one on Superman. They are beautifully illustrated and a fun way to introduce a child to comics and their heroes. After writing this review, I became a fan of some of his other children books. His books have a lot of wit and are in many ways modern-day classics. If you are a parent of a kid who likes to tie a towel around their neck and pretend it is a cape, I highly recommend you track his stuff down. My review is here.
Up, Up, and Away!
Yesterday, the writer Becky Flade mentioned me in a blog post on her site.
The post was called “The Blog that Wasn’t” (which you can find here) and she said this about me and my site:
“When I need a nerd fix, Scott’s my man.”
Now, I’ve considered myself many things in my life; but never “nerd.”
Yes, I would say I’m a snob. I can get behind “snob.” I have all the earmarks of a snob! I could have it tattooed on me without a problem. It could be on my arm near where my sweater vest ends (yes, I am wearing a sweater vest), or even above my reading glasses, right on my forehead. Let me give you some examples of my snobbery:
- I have in my dining room pictures of some of my favorite authors, and many times I have used them as a test for visitors. If, for example, you call Mark Twain “Einstein” well, you might not be invited over again.
- I have been known to tease my friends who praise Twilight on their Facebook pages. (And they should be teased, especially if they are an adult.)
- I write novels (while adventurous and surprising) that contain art, music, and literature references.
- On my desk I have a Shakespeare action figure and an autograph of Woody Allen.
- Oh, did I mention I have a master’s degree?
You see, I sing snob!
But nerd? Continue reading
My wife was in labor for 22 hours. 22!
It started the night before and I was deep in sleep when she broke the news we needed to leave for the hospital NOW. I was so deep into it that it took almost a minute of her waving at me, as I stood dumbfounded, that we needed to move.
I drove so slowly to the hospital, my wife was getting frustrated. I wanted everyone to be safe, I even avoided the highway, worried about drunk drivers.… Yes, it was a Sunday night, but someone could be drunk on a Sunday, right?
Once we were there my wife’s suffering began as future parents after future parents went in the delivery room before us. Finally, I had had enough. There are only a few times I can remember that I got all “extreme,” but this was one of them, as I confronted the doctor and nurse in the hallway. They said there were two ahead and I corrected them, without blinking, no, my wife is next… After five minutes of arguing, my wife was being prepped and ready to go.
One of my most vivid memories is of my son’s birth. When we first heard his cry, my wife turned to me, her mouth open in surprise, tears streaking her happy and tired face. Then they showed him to us. His face was bright red from the screaming. I asked politely (and very overwhelmed) if I could see him; they of course said yes. I stood over him consoling him. At the sound of my voice he immediately stopped crying and then rolled on his side towards me.
You don’t forget things like that… Continue reading
I am the father of a four-year old obsessed with superheroes. And while I am always a little nervous that all of these characters seem to have fathers that meet untimely ends (How can a dad not squirm at that thought?), I have no problem playing with his toys with him and watching his shows.
This late-in-life dip into superheroes has come up with some fun discoveries for me—like GraphicAudio’s amazing radio dramatization of comic books, which I discuss here and here—as I become more and more an unintentional expert in the field of all things with capes.
Superman by Larry Tye is a wonderfully-written nonfiction account of the history of Superman from his birth to most recent times. The book is expansive, not happy with merely talking about his creators or the interesting actors that have portrayed him over the years; showing all of the impacts that the character has had on our society (religion, culturally, etc.) and his own changes as he evolves and gets retooled again and again for new generations.
This is not a simple or playful introduction, but a celebration of an icon and all of the people that made his flight possible. Continue reading
Since I wrote my initial review of GraphicAudio’s great DC audiobook series for Green Spot Blue (here), the article continues to receive visits and I occasionally get comments and e-mails asking which of theirs I would recommend for listening first.
With summer in full swing and road trips almost every weekend, I thought this might be a great opportunity to share my four top recommendations for helping pass those long hours staring out the window at the lines on the highway.
Also, we are in the midst of a superhero summer here in the US. With The Avengers breaking box office records and the last entry in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series as well, this is as good a time as any for imagining how much more fun (and crazy) the world would be if we had a few people in capes that could fly about.
Justice League of America: Exterminators
Supposedly (based on Facebook comments), GraphicAudio will be making some new DC entries in the Fall or Winter of this year.
When they do, I hope they make some new Justice League episodes. While there are things I liked (and loved) about each of their audiobooks, there is something a lot more “fun” about the Justice League series. They aren’t weighed down by all of the drama that comes with Batman and the Crisis series; what you get is a group of superheroes (with voices that perfectly capture their characters) getting along and getting things done. When I return to listening to these audiobooks from time to time, I usually will go to one of these additions first. Continue reading