Sunday, November 23, 2008

TD in FL

I'll be spending this Turkey Day in Florida, visiting some family and basically making a pig of myself. Hey, that's what Thanksgiving is all about! Well...that and being thankful. Should be fun and relaxing. Hopefully, I can sit back and enjoy some down time without stressing about all the upcoming Skinners stuff. This is about the time when the first release date was set. Originally, it was supposed to come out on November 25th, but got pushed back. Ok...trying not to think about all of that.

It's always weird to go to Florida at this time of year because it's usually in the 70s or even 80s while back home there could be snow on the ground. It's a pleasant enough change going there, but arriving back home, I always wind up shivering in the cold airport parking lot because I'm still wearing Bermuda shorts and a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. The bad part is that I hate to fly. That, like the whole movie theater experience, has really gone down the tubes the last several years. Also, like the theater industry, they make it worse by not addressing the real problems and then wonder why their business is down. All the millions that go into "de-terroristing" the airlines apparently means that guards demand certain items go into baggies and then those same glassy eyed security guards don't provide baggies!! Why should I have to bring a baggie? It's YOUR rule! YOU GUYS are the ones who get all the Federal aid!! Can't a terrorist take something out of a baggie after it was put in? Eh, I'm not gonna go off on some tired old comedy routine from twenty years ago (And what is it with the airplane food? Could it BE less edible?).

In other news, the new Guns 'n Roses CD comes out today. I already posted about it here, so click it if you want to refresh your memory. As before, I just want it to be good. I'm a fan from way back, so please, Axl, don't let me down! I'm pullin' for ya, buddy!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ain't she cute?

In other cool news, XBox has launched a new update to their dashboard and overall system which allows us to (among other things) create little people that look like us. Sure, they don't HAVE to look like us, but I get a kick out of seeing a little dude who looks like me in games. I don't care how stupid it is, but my Nintendo Mii has done everything from Olympic games to driving go-karts alongside Mario and Donkey Kong and that's pretty sweet. Simple pleasures, right? Anyway, here's my wife Megan's little XBox chick. She doesn't own a hat like that, but that's what wondrous virtual worlds are for. I'm just lucky to have married an actual female who thinks this is somewhat cool. See guys, they're OUT THERE!!!

New cover

I just got a look at the new cover art for the second SKINNERS. I don't know if I can post it up here yet, but it is really cool! I was pretty lucky with the quality of the first one and it looks like my luck is holding up. It's so good that I don't even mind the construction guys hitting my wall and cursing like the proverbial drunken sailors. Swear away, guys! Life is goooood.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not always as cool as you might think

Working at home. Most of the time, it's great. I get to make my own dress code, keep my own hours and take snack/latte breaks whenever I want. Instead of sneaking outside for a smoke or wasting time in the break room when nobody's looking, I can watch bits and pieces of a Basketball game in between work.

Then again, there are some definite drawbacks. One set of annoyances come about just because I'm home when nobody else is. That puts me on the top of some folks' lists for when they need a ride to the airport or somewhere else during business hours. Need someone to get your mail or pick up a prescription? Call Marcus. He's home and doesn't have anything else better to do. Arrrggghh. The only reason this came up today is because we had a bunch of guys working on repairing some storm damage. Remember this big wind storm from the summer? Well, it messed up our siding and now it's being fixed. Took a while, but that's fine. It's great they're getting to it. What isn't great is that they come around right when I'm working, pounding on the wall RIGHT outside my office and yelling back and forth at each other. I can't decide what I liked more...their radio, their hammers or when they frequently hit their fingers with their hammers and screamed a torrent of profanities over the radio, directly into my office and living room.

I'm griping a little, but I know I've still got it pretty good. Another drawback is not having co-workers or a water cooler to share petty complaints. When I don't feel like whining to my wife, I blog about it.

Thanks for hanging in there. I'll take a break for a few rounds of Mortal Kombat and then keep writing until about 3AM or so.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pass the Tums

I know I already sent off SKINNERS #2, but I just got word that my editor has received it. Much like I've been for the last several months, I'm once again jumping between excitement and dread. I can't wait to see SKINNERS #1 on shelves this January and I tie my guts into knots hoping it goes over well. I think the second one turned out pretty good, but now I need to hear from the Main Man down at HarperCollins (my editor, Peter).

For anyone who wants to know about being a writer, this is pretty much it. Work a lot, get the occasional bit of good news, dread the bad news, hope for some ok news, keep working.

1 more thing

I just looked at the SKINNERS #1 ticker and saw it'll be out in 69 days.


It's been a while since my last post. Mostly just working, but there have been a few points of interest.

- Heroes is still tanking. This is nothing new, but still sad. I think the problem is that they never have the characters use their powers unless it's to help a scene transition. Teleportation and time traveling are basically fancy ways of getting to a new set. Other than that, it's a lot of people flicking their hands to cause a ball of electricity/fire/ice/whatever without actually USING those things against anyone. Come on guys. FIGHT SOMEBODY!! Also, if Claire just now lost her ability to feel pain, that means she could feel all that stuff BEFORE?? So when she was burned alive, shot, stabbed, chopped up and stuck her hand in a freaking GARBAGE DISPOSAL, she could feel it?? She just didn't react, huh? Is that bad acting, lazy writing or both? There's so many more gripes and unanswered bullshit. I wanted to give it another chance before, but this was it.

- I've been playing Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe and I like it. Sure, the fighting is a bit choppy sometimes, but it looks great and the powers are very cool without requiring a degree in button combos. I remember when I had the time to memorize each combo and fatality from MK 3. Those were the days. Now, I just want to whip some butt without referencing a printout every five seconds. People complain about the story, but since when were fighting games worried about plot lines? I could say this one has a more entertaining story than the last season and a half of Heroes, but why beat that into the ground? I guess I just did. Oh well. As far as MK vs DC, I wanted to kick some butt, look good doing it and have fun. Check, check and check.

- I finally got a hold of Legendary and spent some time playing it. Within a few minutes, I knew this game would be put through the wringer. On one hand, the gameplay is very linear and some things are very disappointing. You need to decapitate the werewolves to make sure they stay dead. COOL. They even provide a fire axe to do the chopping. That way, it takes more than just bullets to put them down. Then again, if you keep pulling the trigger on the machine gun, their heads will just pop off anyway. Kinda lame. On the other hand, there are lots of exciting moments and the creatures look pretty good. I bought this one with some store credit that brought the price down to about $21 and it's worth every cent. I honestly would have been a little upset to pay full price. For other monster fans, wait till the price drops and give it a whirl. There's over a dozen other games I want to get including Fallout 3, which I'm putting off simply because I don't have the time to get wrapped up in what looks like a real life-sucker. The rest just needs to wait for the funds to come through.

- I picked up the Gears of War novel, Aspho Fields. I normally don't read a lot of video game tie-ins, but I'm sort of a Gears fan (see pic). Then again, games are getting some pretty damn good stories. I did pick up the Mass Effect books, but haven't started reading them yet. The Gears book has a great, gritty military feel and even sneaks in a few wisecracks regarding the game itself. Why does Marcus wear a do rag instead of a helmet? Turns out it's in the regs as long as the insignia is centered. My favorite is when one of the characters asks, "Why can't they give us a damn flashlight?" That line was in Gears 2 as well, so I wonder who wrote it first? I'd like to think someone at Epic Games read the manuscript for the book, thought it was funny and stuck it into the game.

- I finally saw the Star Wars Clone Wars animated movie. I am genuinely shocked at how much I like that series on Cartoon Network. I gave it a shot and I'm glad I did! Some things (like the tinny voices for the battledroids) actually work better in a cartoon. The fights are very cool and the stories are exciting little tidbits that fit well into the universe. The movie is the same and I really enjoyed it.

- Also got around to seeing Hellboy 2. I loved the first one, but never got around to seeing it in theaters simply because the theater experience has become a general pain in the ass. Refer back to my post about the second time I went to see Dark Knight in theaters for all of that. Suffice it to say, I'm waiting for most movies to come to DVD before seeing them. Hellboy 2 fires on all cylinders. Guillermo del Toro has such a distinctive style that works so damn well in anything fantasy-related. He's one of those guys who takes fantasy just seriously enough to make it special. Blade 2 was the best in that series and I've been a fan of Guillermo's ever since.

- It's getting cold enough to thoroughly enjoy chili and oatmeal.

- Scooters Pumpkin Spice Latte is awesome.

Yeah. That's about it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And away she goes!

Sent out the manuscript for SKINNERS 2 yesterday. Thank God most editors are taking email submissions (even preferring them) over the hard copy. Printing them out is a pain in the butt filled with making sure all the pages came through all right, nothing was crooked, no pages were skipped, and ink cartridges running dry. How come that never happens at the END of a bunch of pages? It's always at the beginning where I'm forced to throw away dozens of sheets of paper covered with half-legible words spat out by a piece of outdated hardware.

Still, there's something special about getting the whole thing printed up and seeing it on my desk. All that work over all those months comes together into an actual pile of pages that I can touch and rest my head upon. Mmmmm. Paper smells nice.

There's still more work to do once the editors read it over, but this is the big step. According to the widget on my screen, there's just under 75 days until I get to see Book 1 on store shelves. I've sent out some review copies and the publisher sent out a bunch more, which leads to a whole other bunch of worries. Will it get torn apart by critics? Will that hamper sales? Will critics like it? Will that help sales? Could this be the end of my career? Tune in and FIND OUT!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Heroes makes me sad

Oh, Heroes. You started off so well. The first season was a bit slow, but headed in the right direction. It picked up and had a somewhat uneven finale. Ok...the first season finale was just dumb. The second season was cool. Still had some dumb moments, but enough good stuff to keep me going. This season started off really well! I was back on board after being skeptical about picking up so long after the writer's strike. Then, it derails.

Watching this last episode was kind of like watching a toy car flop and spin around after being kicked over. There's no direction. No hope of saving the race. It's just floundering pathetically and grinding its gears. Yes, I said pathetically. Nothing on this show makes sense anymore. Stuff that's supposed to be mysterious is just stupid. Even worse, I find myself looking at the clock and wondering when it's over instead of being surprised that another hour has gone by. I know pretty much everyone says Heroes is done, so I guess I've gotta agree. I don't even care what they come up with next season.

On the happy front, I've been playing the living hell out of Gears 2. You just haven't lived until you and your co-op partner pull off a DOUBLE chainsaw kill on one Locust drone. So far, I haven't found anything wrong with that game. Story problems? Not really. It's not trying to be anything it ain't and it's succeeding at being everything it is. That sentence makes more sense after re-reading it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

If Red Ryder were alive today...

I don’t think the UPS guy even tries to knock on my door anymore because all he has to do is pull to a stop in front of my townhouse and I'm running at him like a poorly trained mutt. Last time, it was to get my hands on Gears 2. Today, it was to get my replica LANCER!!!! I’ve been waiting for this puppy since the summer and it’s finally here. Sure, it’s just a big toy gun, but there’s also a chainsaw and it’s coated in blood!

Opening that box, I felt very much like Ralphie at the end of A Christmas Story. Eyes open wide. Hands trembling with anticipation. That little gasp when I see the life-size, gore-covered saw blade. What am I gonna do with this thing? What WON’T I do with it? Apart from the obvious picture ops and home security uses, there’s the sheer awesomeness of it that just makes life a little better. If you can’t take pleasure in something that’s cool just for the sake of being freaking cool, then you’re doomed to live a bleak existence indeed.

Sometimes, you just gotta let yourself be a raging geek simply because it’s fun. This is one of those days. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to pretend I’m chainsawing my poor wife while she’s trying to watch TV.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Terrible problem with Gears 2

Ok, so I've been playing Gears of War 2 and I have a huge gripe. Because of pesky things like "a job" and "real life", I don't have enough time to play!!

This game is simply fan-f'ing-tastic. I've been playing multiplayer a lot just because I want to savor the campaign so as not to breeze through it too quickly. Sure, I've played through Gears 1 several times and will do so with this one as well, but the first time through is always the best. One of my favorite things about the multiplayer is that you can activate bots to play with you so I don't have to take my chances at getting repeatedly cremated by a 12 year-old. The bots on both sides are even pretty damn good! Just to let you know how crappy my first few games were, I was the first man killed on either team where I was the only human in the group.

This game is so good, it makes dealing with the crappy Microsoft customer care and iffy equipment just to play it. And even better news: My Lancer should be here tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gears 2 update

In case you haven't kept up on my posts from August, I pre-ordered Gears of War 2 through so I could get my very own life-sized repilca of a Lancer rifle (Hell yes, I'll post pics when it gets here). Anyway, I figured the trade-off would be receiving the game a few days after launch due to shipping. Well, now it looks like my shipping was upgraded so I can receive the game on day ONE! I checked the UPS site and it just left Oklahoma City on its way to me!! The Lancer won't get here until next week, but that's fine. Also, I picked up Legendary yesterday and it looks freaking great. I haven't played it yet because I'm busting my ass to get SKINNERS 2 turned in on time. Still, there's no way in hell I'll be able to hold off when Gears gets here. I won't let Skinners suffer, so I'll just pull a few late(er) nights. Man oh man, I can already hear that chainsaw revvin'.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hear me baby? Hold together.

I have a bad feeling that my XBox is about to crap out on me again. It hasn't been acting funny, but it seems to be getting louder. Maybe I'm just paranoid because Gears 2 is on its way and that would be the absolute worst time for my console to die. I could be listening too hard and twitching at every whirring sound, but Microsoft hasn't given me any reason to sit comfortably and assume everything will be fine. Then again, if it did go, it would be my third red ring disaster. By now, I'm like a grizzled old dog with too much dead tissue on his hide to feel one more kick. It'll probably die again sooner or later. Just, please give me a few more months.

As far as the election goes. I did find one funny thing that may be ironic, although I kind of get fuzzy on what stuff truly is ironic or just strange. Anyway, with such a big population and so many campaigners and all that stuff, it seems like one vote really doesn't matter. I know that's a horrible thing to say, but it's just the ol' one tiny drop in a vast sea. Most people will tell you that the largest ocean is made up of all those tiny drops and we all come together to blah-blah-blah. We've heard it before. Anyway, I did my part and went out to vote like a good citizen. The process was just as easy and civil as always and I even got a discount at Scooters as a reward. Awesome! The results come in, history is made, people rejoice. When I look on the map, I see that it was all over before the results for my state were even registered. Guess that particular sea had enough drops before I got there. Heh.

Monday, November 3, 2008

There's an election happening? REALLY?

Yes, I’m going to vote tomorrow.
No, I don’t want to talk about who I’ll vote for and why.
No, I don’t want to know who anyone else votes for and YES I am sick of all the back and forth garbage regarding the election.
I realize this is important. The 16,500 calls I get every week and the jerks knocking on my door all tell me so. I’m just glad that at least some of this crap will be over this week.

I make my own decision and everyone else can make theirs. That’s the whole point of this system right? There’s also freedom of speech that allows people to spout off endlessly about their favorite or make fun of their not-so-favorite. I get it. Unfortunately, the whole “right to privacy” thing gets overlooked as all the loudmouthed idiots keep interrupting my day by calling me, knocking on my door and saying the same thing over and OVER again on the TV, radio, billboards and whatever else in their attempt to assert themselves into my life.
Yes I’m going to vote.
YES I know it’s important!!!
Now LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Back to our regularly scheduled nonsense.

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, 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.