Monthly Archives: October 2013

Interviews!!! Or, the beginning of them.

Hey everyone,

So, I finally just had my first interview come out! I managed to find a few bloggers from Goodreads (which is a great resource for other authors) and so I managed to peek his interest and he sent me over some questions to which I answered. So, if you are interested in reading more about me, my authorship, and my book, then click on this link below 🙂

http://www.michaelscifan.us/interview-giveaway-author-mike-thies/

This is pretty sweet because this upcoming Saturday (November 2nd) I will be having another interview but this one for a public television channel on a show called “Meet the Author.” So, this is some good practice and good exposure. Better believe I will be posting the video when I get it!

On top of that, I will be giving a few interviews in the upcoming weeks all in an effort to spread publicity for my upcoming book. You can help me out by sharing the posts. Or, be patient and you will see a blog post that shows all the small ways you can help make my book a success.

I know I’ll be busy in the next few weeks because I plan on reading a lot more and be more active with my blogging. No one said success comes easy 😉

Until next time, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me and my book in the interview.

Review of the movie Don Jon

Review of the movie Don Jon

I have been meaning to see this movie for a little while now. I finally just got around to doing it this past Sunday with a couple buddies of mine. I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno a few weeks before and he discussed the movie a little bit and it made me only want to see it more.

What You’ll Need to Know:
This movie is all about sex. Go into it expecting that. It will definitely push the boundaries between what is R and what may even be considered NC-17. With that being said, go into it with an open mind. I mind it quite funny actually.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt:
Ever since Inception I think he has been doing a great job in the movies he has played. He is a really good actor and I really like the character he plays in this movie. A character that: masturbates constantly, has anger issues (especially when in his car), works out constantly, is always on the hunt for someone new to have sex with, but still upholds good morals in going to church every Sunday and repenting his sins.

He is driven by the fact that his co-actor (or actress in this case), Scarlett Johanson, is the one girl who he can’t hook up with on the first night. So he brings out his “long game” as it’s said and eventually swooes her into sleeping with him but only after first getting into a serious relationship.

Now with any romance movie you can kind of smell the ending coming. Well, I could here especially when he randomly meets a new (but older) woman during class. There is a shift in Levitt’s psychology when he realizes that Johannson is practically not really caring about him and just using him to get her ways.

I won’t spoil the whole movie for you so I’ll leave some of the things out but I think this movie really does a good job at sorting in the dichotomy of a male-female relationship. Men go into relationships with a more care-free attitude and woman want to be treated well and not lied to (which is definitely respectable). The issue this movie raises is when does that “lie” become something like Everest (near impossible) or a plausible idea. For Levitt the straw breaking the camels back (for lack of a better phrase) is something he can’t live without–masturbation. In fact, this whole movie discusses the role that masturbation plays in mens’ lives and shows how a female tends to view it (or at least Johansson who is a Catholic in the movie).

More over, it shows a man’s growing and learning to know what is truly important in his life. What he is willing to fight for and what isn’t. It shows that having the ideal model and trophy-life may not be necessary if, in doing so, you are giving up a part of who you truly are. I am sure this is an issue that many couples can relate to in America and actually all over the world and it goes back to “settling” or being “truly happy”. In fact, this is symbolized by Levitt’s character doing the exact same thing throughout the whole movie and walking into the gym the same way every single time until the very end where he doesn’t go to the gym but, instead, goes to play basketball. Very clever by the directors.

I truly enjoyed this movie and thought it was pretty funny. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. The actors and actresses was great. Analyzing this movie is so fresh and original, however, it loses that 1 of those 5 stars because I felt like the plane that took off when the movie started never quite landed on the runway.

Words You Should Cut in Your Writing

Hey everyone!

So, I was cleaning my room up and I came across a sheet of paper that I always had taped to my desk in college while I was writing. Before this I read the book “How to Write a Damn Good Novel” by James Frey and so much of the advice comes from there. But, I figured, since I found it, I would share it!

Nice, Beautiful, Interesting, Wonderful, Amazing: All of these words you should replace with more specificity. Let’s take, for example, the word beautiful. What is beautiful really saying? That something is really gorgeous? Well, what does really gorgeous mean? Perhaps that the individual in this situation is “A woman with lush lips as red as her hair walked in with a dress of sparkling gold cut off at the thighs. Her sun-kissed skin hid the slight freckles on her cheeks. Her green eyes shot through me, intriguing me to come closer.”

Which is better? I am assuming many people will agree with the last option because of its specificity. I am describing how she is “beautiful” and from there readers can either choose to agree with the narrator, or not. Yes, this adds on more words, but the amount of words you add doing important things like this can be made up by cutting some of these really unnecessary words I talk about next.

Here are some of the words you should actually Delete:

First off, the adverbs when possible. Use that search function on Microsoft Office Word and find those “ly” words and see if you can adjust them. Run quickly? How about sprint?

Very and Really: Ask yourself, what does “very” really do for your sentence? If you say “The building is very sturdy.” vs. “The building is sturdy.” Are people really going to interpret that any differently? When I read a building sturdy, I don’t find myself wondering how sturdy, I know it’s sturdy and I trust the narrator. Or, how about, “It was a really hard piece of food that I ate.” Why not just say, “It was a hard piece of food that I ate?” Or, even better, “I ate stale food.” Now, that’s tightening for you because the stale implies hard and now you managed to rearrange the sentence to take care of unnecessary words.

So: Sooo what? “He was so inconsiderate. I hate him so much.” Great, the guys a douche bag we can see that. But, convey it to us in not as many words. “He was inconsiderate. I loathe him.” I changed a weak word like “hate” to a stronger word that deletes words. And what is “so inconsiderate” compared to “inconsiderate”? Can you tell me a difference? Probably not. So, delete it when possible 😉

Quite: I find that when people use this word they want to make an “almost 100% statement.” It is another filler word for the likes of “very” and “really”. For example, “He is quite intelligent.” Same as “He is really intelligent.” But you know what’s even better. “He is a genius.” Now, this particular example doesn’t delete words but it makes the sentence stronger because of the words you are using.

That: OMG That. It’s a dirty word. And it pops up everywhere. I mean everywhere. Some times it’s needed. But, make sure you read your sentences before accepting it into your troupe. For example, “That is the building that Jack used to live in,” Adam said. Did you really need two thats? No. “Jack used to live there,” Adam said. No that and a lot less words.

Just: You are “just” able to do something. He managed to just grab the ledge. The sun was just rising up. You can really delete this word in almost every instance. It just doesn’t add anything to your writing 😉  How about “He grabbed the ledge.” “The sun rose.” Or, “The sun was on the horizon.” The latter is more true to the meaning of the sentence above. 99% of the time you can delete your just. Just make sure you look at it 🙂

Started to do something: I hate this phrase so much. Sometimes I need to catch myself using it or wondering if I need to use it. “He started to walk towards the man with the beard.” When do you start something? When you are doing it. “He walked towards the bearded man.” Is so much stronger than the sentence above.

Those are the ones that are my biggest pet peeves and the ones I make a conscious effort of in avoiding for my writing. When you have strong writing, you have the attention of readers, and when you have that, you will have a good short story, essay, novel–whatever it is that you write. Now, go find those words and try deleting them. This one signal method (as well as rewriting some of my novel) took a third draft of 173,000 words to a concise one of 123,000 words. That is a difference, but everything is still the same and I even added in more description and character traits and still managed to come in 50,000 less. It goes to show you the power or rewriting and deleting the necessary words and saving space for the ones that matter–the descriptions, character building, world building, etc.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Friends. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It has been my what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Along with multiple other things, too. This is going to be one of my more personal blog posts but it’s just important for me to get things off my chest and have someplace to vent it all to even if that’s just myself online.

Family. Friends are family. They are there for you when everything else has turned against you, or your life has gone in an opposite direction you weren’t expecting. They are your crutch when you have a broken leg. They have ears when you want someone to hear you. And they have eyes when you have trouble seeing straight. I couldn’t be more appreciative of my friends and family as I go through the changes in myself right now.

Right. What seems right to you, may not be. It just may be that you are comfortable with wrong and don’t know what right feels like. Or, perhaps you have an idea of what right could feel like but are too afraid to take the plunge to see if that water is deep or shallow. I’m in a stasis now trying to figure out what is right because what I thought was right, has taken a different turn. I have yet to figure out if that is going to be a good or bad decision but, to me, I feel as though it’s the right move and I can’t be thankful enough for the friends who have been my crutch during this time.

Inspiration. There are a few phrases that have really stuck out to me during this time. “Don’t live life with regrets.” “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning to walk in the rain.” We can’t just sit in the comfort zone, we need to travel outside of it, even if it means getting dirty, and crying, and being confused, but we will never get to our destination if we always have to stop for shelter when it starts to rain. All of these have been big proponents in my next letter and the things that are happening in my life now.

Experience. This has what has been really pushing me to take this dramatic shift in my life right now. For the first time in seven years, I am single. It’s crazy. I am still not entirely sure how to take it. But, before this, I was previously engaged and for the past couple years we have been always unsure if we are “settling” or “truly happy”. And although I won’t get into the finite details of our relationship coming to an end, I will say that although it may not have worked out for us now, I am still happy to have had the relationship. Statistics nowadays say you need something like 12 relationships to know who you are supposed to be with. That’s bullshit. But, I do believe you need more than one. Especially when that relationship starts in high school and continues on past college. The person you are in high school is so different than who you are after college. Your tastes are definitely bound to change, and I think that is what is happening to me now. What I thought I wanted, perhaps I mistook. I am not saying that me and my ex will never get back together but if we do I don’t want to be in this stasis I feel now, I want to be engaged and happily engaged and planning a wedding.

New. People are so afraid of change. I am too. Although I try and hide behind a stalwart facade I really do wonder if the choices I’ve made thus far in my life have been or will be beneficial to me. But, with new choices, comes new experience. To be honest, this one year of no schooling, but real world experience, has given me the confidence to take those inspirational quotes above and utilize them. I couldn’t be more thankful to have the blessings I do have and the support of friends and family behind me as I continue with publishing and continue sorting out me emotionally. The things I experience are sure to be new, in fact, some of them have already been so, but it’s been a kind of good new. For example, I know this is trivial, but at a bar the week after I ended it with my ex, a lady bought me a drink. It was the first time that has ever happened. I was flattered. And it made me realize that maybe new isn’t bad, it’s just not what we’ve been used to, and so that’s how we perceive it. As I take this moment in life as a time of self-discovery I can’t wait to experience a newness and a rejuvenation in the life I thought I had, or will have in the future.

Determination. With a large change in your life, it’s up to you to make what you will of it. If you want something you go out there and get it. Honestly, I feel as though that is a huge problem in our society right now. This “self propriety” complex. People think that they should be handed things on a silver platter. I don’t. I think it’s when you dredge through life’s problems that you become an overall better and well-rounded individual. Although I do not know where this path is going to lead me I am determined to make the most of it and pray everyday. I’m going to count my blessings that I currently have and those that come into my life.

Surety. I think this is another big thing that you need to have when going through any life changing event. Although you can be afraid of change, I think you need to be sure and confident that it will work out for the best. I’ve always been an advocate of God having plans for everyone and I think that is what is in store for me as I continue down this new path. I have to take a look at the accomplishments in my life, set a goal of where I want to be in the future, and be sure of myself that those things will happen. I just passed my Praxis exam and will officially be going back to school next semester to pursue my teaching license and by fall of 2015 I hope to have a full-time teaching job. In December I have my debut novel coming out and already people are saying good things about it. In 2015 I hope to have my book’s sequel published.

All of these things that have happened to me so far just confirm in my mind that this is a path meant to go down, and although I don’t know where it leads, I plan on seeing a new me on the other side. Until then, I have F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and an unwavering amount of everything included within.

Review #5 (More good news!)

Hi everyone!

Alright, I know you are all probably getting tired of me posting the reviews that I get on here, but, I can’t help it, this is my debut novel and the amount of positive feedback that I’ve been getting on it has been phenomenal and something I can’t be thankful enough for. With that being said, this next reviewer, Jay Williams, gave it a 5/5 stars and this is what he had to say:

“A well-written adventure in a fantasy world, this novel quickly engages the reader and keeps you engrossed through the never-ending action and adventure. People and places are always introduced with a brief description that helps to form mental images as the story progresses. I was completely in suspense up to the final selection of the apprentice. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. Thoughts and images of the story and its characters stayed with me long after I had finished the book.”

Thanks Jay for your support. And thanks for everyone who has been behind me on this project of mine 100%. I appreciate it and it means a lot to me. December can’t get here fast enough, nor can my book launch party November 6th.

Until the next one!

Writer’s Block Press

 

Review #4

Hey everyone,

So, here is another review that came on about my book, compliments of “Teresa” on Goodreads. She received my book from the NetGalley system. For the most part pretty positive! She didn’t like the fact that it’s not a “complete” book and that there is bound to be a second one, but I suppose…it is a series after all. Wouldn’t be without other books. Anyways, here is the review!

 

“SPOILERS WITHIN:
This is a science fiction story involving magical powers, technological advances and one all powerful guardian. In this portion, the applicants have applied and eight are chosen to compete for an apprenticeship with Eska, the current Guardian of the Core. Should they survive the contests, they will have the opportunity to answer questions for approval from the ruling families and with the required votes begin the apprenticeship for a 200 year position which will require the person to remain single, childless due to the potential transfer of the power.

This portion is well written and the author has well developed story line with the different locations. I could relate to the characters as I was reading the story, not to mention some of the technology used in the story. The places, people and events had excellent descriptions. The reader is able to get lost in the storyline and wonder where the time is gone when he arrives to find, what is to me, a disappointing ending.

Like so many stories being published these days, to me, this is merely part one of a story. From the way the story ends, it is clear there will be more but instead of creating one novel they’ve broken it up into parts so that more money can be made. ( )”

 

She gave it a 3/5 stars. My lowest one yet, but still overall a good review I think considering what she wrote above. Thanks for reading along and hopefully you’ll get the chance to review and read my book soon enough.

Alone Together – Fall Out Boy – The Genius of Music Video Marketing

Alright so the reason why I put this video up specifically is because I personally like the song, but what I want to do in this post is just explain the genius that is Fall Out Boy.

This is by far one of THE BEST examples of marketing I have seen for music videos. Starting with their first single “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”, Fall Out Boy (FOB) has created a storyline. Right now they are up to part 5 in an 11 part story with each song telling more of the story. Now, why this is genius?

It is grabbing our attention to the characters. We want to see what happens to them. And in so doing, we will listen to their music and find out all or most of the songs on their CD. If we like them we’ll buy them or download them. This is important to know because many authors see that series books sell more than just stand alone books. That’s because, like I said before, we are connected to the story line. Not only that, so many music videos nowadays don’t really have a purpose, or a storyline for that matter, they are just the artist singing or rapping the song in a multitude of locations and with multiple outfits. There is never any textual analysis that can go on (besides Lady Gaga videos which I find very fabulous to analyze).

Now, this isn’t the first of it’s kind. One music video series that come to my mind happened a few years ago called “Trapped in the Closet” by R. Kelly. In these videos we see a bunch of families having many problems (infidelity a big one amongst them). The difference being is that R. Kelly is singing the story along to us, which is definitely unique, whereas FOB is having their songs play while a story is being told.

Which way do you like better? Do you agree that FOB did a great job with these videos? Are you following along to their story?

Look forward to seeing your responses.