Friday, November 30, 2012

I Finished National Novel Writing Month!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, I decided to try to write the first 50,000 words of a novel for the National Novel Writing Month challenge. After a long month of writing, I’m happy to say that I met my goal of 50,000 words. This surpasses my previous record for writing in one month, 45,000 words.

The novel I’m working on is tentatively titled The Silencer, and here is its logline: After witnessing a murder, a teenage city slicker and the girl he likes must rely on her dad's outdoor skills to survive when the relentless killer pursues them into the wilderness.

Since I’m aiming for The Silencer to be 80,000 words long, I still have around 30,000 words to go. I’ll let you know when I finish the first draft.

Did any of you write a NaNo novel, or try to?

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Enter to Win a Free Book

J. Grace Pennington, author of the excellent science fiction novel Firmament: Radialloy (that I reviewed here) has now branched out to another genre with a western mystery called Never, which will be released on November 23rd. And not only is she experimenting with a cool genre mix, she is also giving away a copy of the book. All you have to do to be entered to win is to take part in a simple and easy scavenger hunt.

Before I give the instructions for how to enter, here’s what the book you could win is about:

Travis Hamilton never expected to be a killer. One day he was studying to become a schoolteacher in the little western town of Spencervale, and the next he was sentenced to ten years hard labor in the Dead Mines outside town -- from which few return alive.

Ross Hamilton is no detective. But when his brother is convicted of murder, he has no choice but to abandon his ranch and do all in his power to find out just what happened the night of the killing, and who is really responsible.

Neither brother is prepared to be stretched and tested to his limits and beyond by an adventure that is much bigger than either of them ever imagined.

But in the next few days, they will be. The only way to survive is to never compromise.


And speaking of never, you should never pass up the chance to win a free novel, especially if it is by J. Grace Pennington.

Here’s how to enter to win Never:

Copy this code: ENYAW NHOJ

Then get the additional codes from other participating blogs, which will all be linked together for your convenience. The blog I’m linked to is: BushMaid

When you have gathered all the codes, send them to theauthor[AT]jgracepennington[DOT]com, and you’ll be entered to win a free copy of Never. Additionally, everyone who sends in all the codes will automatically win two Never-themed desktop backgrounds.

The giveaway starts today and will continue until 11:59 CST on November 22nd, the day before the release date.

Enjoy the scavenger hunt, and be sure to visit Grace's blog and website.

Never trivia: As with Grace's first novel Firmament: Radialloy, Never draws some inspiration from Star Trek--Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, to be precise. This film features one group accused of assassination and sent to work in some mines, while the other group remains behind to try to solve the mystery.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review: Illusion by Frank Peretti

After an aging magician loses his beloved wife in a car crash, he begins trying to pick up the pieces of his life. Meanwhile, a young woman from the 1970s finds herself thrown forty years into the future, and struggles to survive in what is now a strange world. She begins using magic tricks as a way to make money, and eventually catches the attention of the magician. He agrees to take her on as an apprentice, despite being bothered by her uncanny resemble to his wife when she was young. As they work to unravel the mystery of who the young woman is, they will have to turn to their magic tricks to help battle the mysterious group that is watching the young woman and has plans for her.

One of the most interesting things about this book is how Peretti breaks many of the supposed “rules of good writing” and usually gets away with it because he’s such a masterful writer. While some of these flourishes falter, most are effective. The story is a bit rambly early on, taking a long time to set up the complicated relationship between the old magician and the young woman who resembles his wife, and after that it stays engaging. The antagonists felt underdeveloped, but the magic tricks that are so important to the book are vividly described. While it is not one of Peretti’s best books, it is still a compelling story that is worth reading.

Content is minimal, and mostly consists of mild violence here and there. There are a few ambiguous uses of words that may or may not be meant as swearing. Kissing, attraction, and the caresses of a married couple are referenced. Adult subjects are present, but dealt with tactfully. It doesn’t have as clear a spiritual message as some of his books, but the central theme is a good one, and the indirect influences of faith can be seen throughout.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Monday, November 12, 2012

Movie Review: Titan A.E.

When an evil alien race fears that humanity will gain the ability to stop their conquest of space, they destroy earth. Fifteen years later, the only hope of humanity is the son of the man who hid a powerful ship that can create a new earth, since the son’s DNA can unlock the map to find the hidden ship. The son has grown up with mostly indifferent alien companions, and has become a reckless jerk. As he is begrudgingly dragged along on the quest to save the remnants of humanity, he slowly becomes a better person, and finds a few colorful allies. However, the aliens who destroyed earth are on his trail, and are willing do anything to get the hidden ship for themselves and prevent humanity from rising again.

The main draw of this film is the animation. In many scenes, it is spectacular, and fans of sci-fi and animated films might want to see it for that alone, though occasionally the animation is stiff or has less depth. There are many memorable action sequences that are vividly depicted. The story, on the other hand, is riddled with holes and things that aren’t explained and some erratic characters. However, the two main protagonists are effective, and a sidekick named Goon is notably amusing.

Titan A.E. is much more “adult” than all the other Don Bluth films I’ve seen, such as The Land Before Time, An American Tail, and Anastasia. The screenplay is co-written by Joss Whedon, who is famous for the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, and the movie The Avengers. While the idea of Don Bluth making a film for older audiences could have worked, I have somewhat mixed feelings about the result in this instance. There is a lot to like in the animation, action sequences, and protagonists, but a lot to dislike in the story problems as well as mild content issues. This unfortunately ended up being Don Bluth’s last film.

Titan A.E. starts out a bit grim and problematic, and though it gets less so as it goes along, the tone feels more like a PG-13 movie than PG. A gory murder scene is supposed to be funny because the alien being killed is sleazy. Aside from that, the violence doesn’t get gory. The idea of earth being destroyed and remade may trouble some, as may women in battle. There is some gross out humor and a bit of vague flirting and innuendo. Mild male nudity is played for laughs. A woman’s silhouette is seen as she gets dressed after a shower.  Surprisingly, in the midst of all this, the movie is free of profanity.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Monday, November 5, 2012

My First NaNo Novel

If you don’t know what a NaNo novel is, it’s a novel written in November, as part of National Novel Writing Month. I decided to join in this year. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel, or 50,000 words of a novel. I’m aiming for the latter.

Here’s the basic information for the novel I’m working on:

Title: The Silencer

I’m not sure if I’ll keep this title or not. What do you think?

Logline: After witnessing a murder, a teenage city slicker and the girl he likes must rely on her dad's outdoor skills to survive when the relentless killer pursues them into the wilderness.

And just for fun, I made a simple cover:

Are you writing a NaNo novel?

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner

Friday, November 2, 2012

Podcast Co-host

I co-hosted a podcast that was just released, interviewing author J. Grace Pennington. You can listen to it or download it here:

Interview with J. Grace Pennington, author of Firmament: Radialloy

It’s my first time on a podcast, so let me know what you think.

(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner