This is what happens without editors

I'm Marcus Pelegrimas, author of the SKINNERS series. Here you'll find various ramblings about movies, video games, TV, and...oh yeah...those books I write. If there's anything you'd like to discuss, just let me know. I try to update whenever the mood strikes me, so feel free to leave comments. There may be some occasional foul language, but anyone who's too easily offended probably doesn't read my stuff anyway.

Free Stuff

Here's how it goes. As usual, I've got my truckload of promo covers from EOS Books. I'll be going to some conventions, so I hope to see you there and I'll gladly sign your books. If you can't make it to a con, just email me your name, address and any inscription so I can send you a signed cover.


BONUS ---> If you would be so kind as to write up a review for any or all Skinners books and publish it on a site like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or any other major review site, I can send you something extra. I made up some bookmarks (which I'll sign) and I've even put together some Shimmy's VIP passes (which I'll also sign). Can't guarantee the passes will get you into a real strip club, but I think they look pretty cool. Send me a link to your review along with your name, address and inscription, and I'll get these out to you as well.



Monday, September 29, 2008

Flying the geek flag

Archon is coming up this weekend. It’s a convention held right outside of St. Louis, which means I’ll be able to attend without any hassles. I know how to get there, where to eat, were to stay, all the good stuff. For someone who gets lost as easily (and often) as I do, that’s a big plus.

The programming schedule just got posted on their website and there is a TON of great stuff. Not only is there plenty of writing panels, but the original MST3K crew is going to be there. I only hope I’ll be able to get into the Cinematic Titanic event. Good Lord, those guys are funny. I’ve never laughed so hard at the same old episodes as I have with nearly all of the MST3K stuff. CT and of course Mike Nelson’s Riff Tracks only carry along the tradition.

I was hoping to keep busy while in town and it already looks like there’ll be more panels and stuff than I can attend. Should be awesome. Plus, I get to hit Jack in the Box and Steak ‘n shake while I’m there. Yesssssss.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cool widget or TORTURE?

I was just at the HarperCollins website. . .and. . .ok that's not true. I looked myself up on Google (sounds better than "Googling myself") and saw I was actually on the HarperCollins site. When I clicked the link, I found this widget that's got a picture of Skinners #1 and a countdown to its release. AWESOME!!

Link to "Get this widget"...HELL yes!!!

Slapped it onto the ol' blog. It looks great. Only, now I'll see that countdown EVERY time I log on. Believe me, I've felt every day pass since the release date was first announced (and pushed back). Seeing the countdown in actual numbers is NOT what I need. It does look cool though and it's a good fit for the blog. It may not be a huge deal, but it's pretty nice. I've had other books come out in other genres and have always needed to make my own widgets.

Yeah. This one stays put. Or, it'll stay until my wife forces me to delete it so I stop reporting back to her with how many days, hours, minutes and seconds until my baby is out in the world.

Right on schedule


Had a minor setback the other day. Just one of those crises that usually hits me when I finish a book and start in on the editing process. I know, I said earlier how good it feels to get in there and start revising. It did feel good. . .right up to the point where I felt like I was trying to dig out of a prison with a plastic spork.

What followed wasn’t pretty. Mostly a bunch of griping about being overwhelmed, whining and asking a whole lot of stupid questions about the first draft of the book I’d finished. The more I questioned the little things, the more I thought about the bigger scenes. As I thought about the bigger scenes, I questioned the direction for the whole series.

All of this grew from some pretty standard editing stuff. The stupid part is that I KNEW it was coming. I went through this for the first Skinners and through a good portion of every other book I’ve written. The breakdown came right on schedule, but still somehow caught me by surprise. Once again, my wife is a saint for putting up with this bullshit and insisting I give myself a day off to relax. It’s amazing what a calming voice (and a shot of Jimmy Beam) can do.

I’m feeling much better now.
The editing has commenced and is going well.
The voices have stopped.
Well. . .at least they’re letting me work.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Good day for HD

Started watching the Tampa Bay / Chicago game today in regular resolution because I was taping it on the DVR and it takes up less space that way and blahblahblah. Anyway, caught up to the live broadcast, switched over to HD and had what I've decided to call an eye-gasm. I know HD is good, but damn! Going from one to the other like that is jarring! Not only that, but I got to see Tampa pull out a win in OT! Despite the snide comment I make about the Bucs in SKINNERS 1, I am a fan. I watch a lot of different teams mainly because there's no NFL team here in Nebraska. The closest we've got is Kansas City, Chicago and St. Louis. The Chiefs usually do all right (but not so far). The Rams. . .ehhhhh. . .let's not talk about the Rams. Chicago, however always puts on a hell of a defensive show. Why the Bucs? I'd like to say there was some serious research or some sort of childhood tie, but I like the skull and swords on the jersey. No, I'm not blond. When I started watching football a while back, I was deciding what games to watch and I went with the skull instead of throwing a dart at a TV schedule. Also, I played the Bucs a lot on Madden '05 and they always did right by me. So, despite a vaguely BS call in OT where the Bears got slammed for illegal contact when it was obviously of the TB players' fault, it was an awesome game. Ok...there's always some BS calls, so it was just an awesome game. I like to see Tampa win, but hate to see Chicago go out like that.


Wouldn't you know it, right after the game there was some beach volleyball on. FEMALE beach volleyball, no less! Those ladies may not look so great from the front or sides, but from the back it's quite a sight to behold. Not that they're ugly or anything, but there's just no beating those tight little butts wrapped up in those tiny bikini bottoms IN HD.


So that's my Sunday. Too bad Wing Stop doesn't deliver or I'd never have to get up.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My puzzler hurts

I should be wrapping up the first draft of SKINNERS 2 today. Actually, considering the editing I do along the way, it's really draft number...eh forget it. The first entire manuscript in any form of Book 2. Still pondering options for the ending, how stuff leads into other stories and countless other details that keep me from shutting my brain off and truly relaxing for a while. Whenever I work on a book (any book), I always feel like scenes drag on or conversations run too long or it's been too long since characters ate something. Then, I remind myself that trying to evaluate the flow of a book the first time through is hard because it's like reading something in slow motion. I'm putting together sentences, trying to use commas, figuring out where to end paragraphs and also trying to think of it as a flowing storyline. That's like trying to watch a movie while sifting through it frame by frame. You get a general feel for it, but aren't really seeing it the way the audience will see it. Pretty basic stuff, really, but taxing nonetheless.

Also, in my few bits of free time, I've been playing Braid. Real relaxing choice, huh? It FEELS relaxing, LOOKS like it should be relaxing and even has very relaxing music. As for the couple of puzzles in the 5th and 6th worlds that make me want to slam my controller against my forehead, not so relaxing. It;s still a lot of fun, though. I don't normally look up hints to get through games, but I may be forced down that dark road with this one.

All right. Back to work. I know the ending I want right down to the last line (more or less) so I just need to write it. After that, I plan on taking a few days to let my thinker unravel and then get into editing. I may bitch a lot about editing (and I WILL be bitching pretty soon), but it's the one thing that really lets me relax and enjoy my own work. I get to polish it up, nice and purdy, polish it some more, send it in, have someone else polish it, I polish it again, someone else does it and then I get to do it again....and maybe someone else does. I've lost track.

Ugh.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Must...keep....strumming


I love Rock Band. I’ve just gotta say that. I picked up RB2 and have been playing it steadily ever since. Somehow, I’ve also been getting work done but the mysterious ache and redness that’s settled into my eyes for some reason is making that difficult. Wouldn’t you know, I get that eye strain right when I want to keep playing? Of all the damned luck!

Mostly, I’ve been playing lead guitar for my band, Whitechapel Incident. Sometimes, I’ll sit in on drums but haven’t been convinced to do any singing yet. Considering how much kick-ass stuff is on there like White Wedding and Down with the Sickness, I’m sure I’ll be straining the ol’ vocal chords in a while. My wife does some singing, but plays a lot of bass. How cool is that? Just when I think my gaming habit has gotten bad by forcing me to play with toy instruments, my wife comes along and plays with me. I must’ve really done something right to land a woman like that!

There’s also another 20 songs that are supposed to be a free download coming along. I don’t know what those will be since I’ve barely unlocked a third of the new ones on the disk. Those, along with the downloads from RB1 that switched over to 2 have been keeping me busy. The great thing about this and Guitar Hero is the way they make me pay attention to songs that may have slipped by me otherwise. I might not be a fan of some of the groups on the radio, but playing their songs on a game gives them a new set of legs. For instance, I wasn’t overly impressed with the new Metallica CD, but got a chance to play some of the songs on Guitar Hero. Those are really fun to play! Float On by Modest Mouse is another one. I’ve heard that plenty of times on the radio and got sick of it pretty quick. On Rock Band, though, it’s damn good.

Ok, that’s the report so far. Rock Band = good. Back to work and then back to ROCK. (yes, you do have to type that in all caps).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quick break

Rock Band 2 is awesome! Great new songs. Tweaks to the modes, but not too many differences. I'd say more, but I want to get back to it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More ROCK...comin' right up

Two more days until Rock Band 2. I play a lot of Rock Band and Guitar Hero. It's a good way to loosen up the ol' fingers before, during, and after work. It's like listening to a CD in front of the TV with a toy hanging from your neck. Very therapeutic. Rock Band 2 has a ton of great songs on the list and I'm pumped to start rockin'. I won't pick up a new set of instruments until October when Guitar Hero World Tour releases. The GH instruments look a bit cooler and I can't afford to buy EVERYthing that comes out. So, Sunday will be busy. Do a little work, rock out. Do a little more work, keep rollin'. Maybe after that, I'll stop using so many apostrophes.

Decorating mistakes or just good TV?



Ok, so new stuff is coming out on TV and I’m actually starting to get a little pumped. As freaking awesome as Hole in the Wall might be (if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. Weirdoes in disturbingly form-fitting jumpsuits jump through shapes in a foam wall. Classic), it’s about time for some actual plotlines. Heroes looks like it could be pretty good, but that’s a little ways off. Sanctuary on the Sci-Fi Channel looks like it will have some promise. Torchwood will be returning. You know my thoughts on Primeval (awesome). The one I’ve seen most recently is Fringe.

Please Lord, let there be Fringe. I’ve heard the numbers for the pilot weren’t great, but the show sure as hell was! Even the lettering that marked where they were at the beginning of the scene was cool. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve seen the show you know what I mean. The writing was great, the characters were original (a crazy guy who actually acts like a real crazy guy instead of some Looney Tunes character. SWEET), and there were even a few twists and turns that took me by surprise. Even the ones that weren’t a surprise were nicely done. It’s out there, but not quite X-Files out there. It’s right on the. . .oh. . .Fringe. Huh. Well Played, JJ Abrams.

Chuck’s also coming back and I really enjoy that show. Let’s see. . .I’ll give Knight Rider another try and I think that’s about it. I just hope Fringe gets its fair shot and is picked up for a full season. Maybe people just DVR’d it and watched it later like I did. Would that affect the numbers? I don’t know. Just keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where's the "I hate you. You're the bane of my existence" button?


You know what truly sucks about working at home? Not having a tech guy to come around and fix my computer!! I know just enough to do the really hard stuff like work on Word documents and check email. Then, for no apparent reason, every little thing becomes a multi-layered chore that involves starting/stopping programs, watching everything come up as “not responding”, restarting the computer, talking to customer service reps, and all kinds of other fun stuff that wastes a good chunk of my day.

I need a tech guy to come in and work the voodoo required to clean up whatever I messed up. Yes, I’ve run virus scans, but I’ve never had my computer act goofy, run a scan, find a bunch of bugs and then have it run great after removing those bugs. Usually, all I get are a few tracking cookies and then I need to restart the computer because it’s chugging away at something or other. Seems to be working ok now, but it’s only a matter of time before I’m ready to get out the crowbar and do some debugging the old fashioned way.

Friday, September 5, 2008

MEG Branch 1

I put a link to MEG Branch 1 on the side of the page. It's just my page on Live Journal. I actually started out trying to put this blog on Live Journal just because some other people I know are on there. I found it hard to work with, so I ditched it and moved over to Blogger. It's not that LJ is overly complicated, but getting stuff set up on there just felt like a chore. Blogger seems a lot easier as far as arranging the layout and inserting pictures and all that crap.

Just a preference thing. No biggie.

The people I mentioned are still on LJ and you need to be a member to leave comments on some of them so I rejoined and put together another journal. I'm not crazy about updating more than 1 blog, so I decided to give that one an ectological focus. I can talk about supernatural stuff like ghost sightings, ghost hunting, urban legends, all that fun stuff. This will still be my normal day-to-day blog.

It's kind of funny because at the time I'm writing this, SKINNERS #1 isn't even on shelves yet and the only people who read this are a few friends and family (you will all be remembered when the New Order is implemented...heh). The last thing I need is another blog, but there it is. Not really that big of a deal when I think 2 blogs is probably a pretty low number for most folks. I still haven't done much of anything with my MySpace page, which I started for the same reason as I started the first LJ.

Enough of that. You get the idea. 1 blog is now 2. The link's on the side, so check it out if you like. If not, there'll still be plenty of crap right here!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What's my problem??


First of all, I love to read. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Makes sense, right? I write books, so I like books. It follows I’d like to read books. The sucky part is that, when I’ve really got my nose to the ol’ grindstone and am writing away, I don’t really read that much. I know authors who read voraciously and they keep up on everything out there. I truly wish I was like that. What happens to me is, after a hard day of writing, I don’t feel like looking at more printed words. That sounds horrible, I know, but it’s true. It’s like I’ve spent my whole day cooking pizza and the last thing I want when I’m through is to eat more pizza!

I’ve got so many books piled up that I need to read, it’s just ridiculous. When I make time to crack open a book, I really love it. Sometimes, though, blowing stuff up in a video game or switching my brain off to watch crappy TV is the equivalent of stuffing some burgers down my throat instead of cooking a good meal. More food references, huh? Maybe I’m hungry.

This really does bug me. As a writer, I should be able to plow through a couple books at a time (like other writers I know) and spout off all the textures of every new release. Damn, I wish I could do that. My little pea brain just gets chafed or something. Maybe I’m just lazy. Yeah, that’s probably a little bit of it. Short attention span? Ok…I’ll admit to that one too. Not all the time, but…what was I saying?

Another sad personal fact is that I’m a sloooooooow reader. I’m not exactly stupid (although some may disagree on that), but I just don’t like to skim. My wife devours books and even finds time to re-read them. She admits to skimming, but I just can’t do that. I want to read every word and if I happen to space out a paragraph or two, I’ll go back. This amounts to taking a lot of time to make it through a book. Eh, I just need to put down the Xbox controller more and haul my ass away from all those wonderfully bad Sci-Fi Channel movies and read.

This public service announcement brought to you by Reading.
READING. It’s what’s for dinner.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Coolness is...well...cool



Damn! It is really nice outside!! I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts, because there's always that bit of cool air right before the last blast of summer. I think I might go out and frolic. Either that, or I'll just settle for a quick drive to Scooters for an Espresso Smoothie (chocolate peanut butter).

DO YOU FOLKS LIKE COFFFFEEEEE??? REEEEAAL COFFEE...from the HILLS...of CoLUMbia. (See the Duncan Hills jingle on the player to the right. Metalocalypse fans probably appreciate it.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blurbs, shooters, time distortion...the usual stuff


I’ve been messed up this whole week, and I don’t even mean the fun kind of messed up. I mean I had family over at the beginning of last week, which made it feel like the weekend. Then, I took a day off of work to be with said family so it REALLY felt like the weekend. After they left, there was a long weekend, which felt like a whole lot of nothing. The Olympics are over, so TV is just starting to come out of its shell. All of my normal gauges for time and space are off. Now, it’s Tuesday after the holiday, so it feels like Monday. I’m only one day off, which means I should be back on track sometime before Halloween.

And it’s September. Yessssss!!! I don’t know about the official season start/end dates, but summer is June, July & August in my mind. Therefore, September is the beginning of autumn. I LOVE autumn! The sun’s not so damned blaringly bright. The air is cooler. People are generally quieter. Pumpkin Pie goes on sale. Everything smells like apples. Ok, so maybe that’s all a bit much, but autumn is great.
Speaking of TV, a new episode of The Shield is on tonight. I love that show, but there better be one hell of a recap because it feels like it's been about 4.27 years since the last one.

I finally got around to finishing the single player campaign of Call of Duty 4. That game is simply amazing (old news, but still true). I’ve been playing the hell out of the multiplayer, which I like simply because it’s one of those games where you can die a lot and still keep playing. Tom Clancy games are freaking great, but a lot of them are “bang, you’re out”. More realism doesn’t exactly = fun for crappy players like myself. Still plucking away at Too Human, GTA 4, Ninja Gaiden 2, and so many others. I remember the good ol’ days where I had nothing to keep me busy but some school work and games. Ahhhhh.
My XBox Gamer Score is 22221. I NEED A ONE POINT ACHIEVEMENT!!!!

Still collecting blurbs for Blood Blade. I got some really good ones from some great sources! I’m just jazzed that these people are reading my book and not just using it for a doorstop. It’s coming out in February, but I can’t think about that too much or I’ll start to jump around like a monkey when some demonic evil enters the zoo. Or monsters. Eh, you know what I mean. Those movies where animals and kids always freak out when the bad guy comes close and…forget it.

The second SKINNERS is coming along nicely. I’m in the second half of the first draft, which means there’s a whole lot of work left to do. Still, it’s great to be working on it at all. Writing a sequel and thinking about all the continuity stuff for past and future volumes makes me think about writing a series in general. Writing western series isn’t as difficult, mainly because they prefer to stick to stand-alone types of stories. The fantasy genre (urban or otherwise) likes its continuing plotlines. I love thinking about over-arching stories, but it’s tough to strike a balance between explaining things to readers who pick up the second book first and continuing things for people who read the first one. Hopefully, this turns out to be enjoyable for anyone. In the end, though, it does say “Book 1” and “Book 2” right on the cover.

Time to stick my nose outside. Haven’t done that for a day or two. I’ll probably go to Best Buy to see what came out on DVD this week. Exciting stuff.