Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Hello Everybody~~
So I just wanted to make a short post and maybe talk about what you might bring for the potluck in the comments if you guys actually want to do the potluck. Hope to see you guys next Monday. Take care~

I am hopefully going to bring chips and possibly lemonade.
Also if somebody can could they bring plates and forks :D Thanks everybody!

Final Thoughts

Hello Everybody,
So as a sort of final post and closing of the class I would like to open a post for any final thoughts and comments on the course. I know most of us don't want to acknowledge that the end is so close, but the reality of it is we have one day left in the classroom. Most of all I want to say thank you to all of you guys. The ones who talked and discussed the readings we did and had deep and friendly discussions. Despite only seeing all of you once a week or in passing you have all become good friends and I wish you the best in your college career and thereon.

Secondly I want to thank all the authors, even though they won't see this post, they have touched me and took time out of their busy lives to teach us something. I don't think I will ever be able to relive these moments. Authors are in fact really amazing people. Even if I had not particularly read a certain genre, such as mystery (which we seemed to read a lot of), I became more open to reading mystery novels and the people behind the story were the most extraordinary of all. I found that a voice could soothe oceans by listening to V.B. Price. That legacies can go on even if somebody dies from Anne Hillman. That vampires, humans, elves, and werewolves do not in fact have to be confined to their own books from Melinda Snodgrass. That it is okay to write about your past from Kate Horsly. That being an activist and an author go hand in hand from Margret Randall and Demetria Martinez. That writing should never be for oneself but for the reader from Daniel Abraham, he also taught me to never give up and that great things take a long time and hard work. And lastly learned that you do not have to major in Journalism or Creative Writing to become an author from Michael Thomas. In the end I am going to miss you all.

Never stop reading. Never stop dreaming. and Thank you.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Other Authors

This semester, we have been lucky enough to have some friendly, encouraging writers come in and speak to our class about their writing process, their stories, and give some helpful advice for those of us who want to go into writing. I sort of got my dream-team (Daniel Abraham and Melinda Snodgrass) as guests to the series, but they write the kind of fiction I like best.

Are there any authors you would have liked to see as a part of this series? Especially if they are still alive and live in New Mexico, but they don't have to be.

Visual Representations of "Swan Song"

These are a few covers of my favorite book, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, first published in 1987 but currently out of print. The covers have always baffled me.

I used to own the top left one, and when I first read it, I waited patiently for this red-faced demon to rise over an ocean in some way, to no avail. There is a monster/demon in the book, but his face shifts from one normal face to another, and in between faces, has a third scarlet eye in the middle of his forehead. He's called the Man with the Scarlet Eye, but evidently the illustrator only used "scarlet" and "man." (There's also never any bodies of water.)
The bottom left one makes a little more sense, because Swan, the title character, is a young blond girl who makes plants grow in the post-apocalyptic world wherever she goes. However, the monster in the sky is again a very odd interpretation.
The bottom middle one makes no sense whatsoever, and I'm not sure what the illustrator could possibly have been imagining the book was about. Rest assured that there are no wolf-gremlin-mutants with green tentacle-tongues anywhere in the story.
The top right one is decent. This book is about the nuclear apocalypse between the USSR and the USA, so the mushroom cloud with the skull is appropriate. There are also several characters in the shadow of the cloud, and what appears to be a tree in the middle, so it seems that the illustrator really did pay more attention to what the book was about here.
The bottom right one resembles some of the action books we were looking at in class, with the very large fonts, but has not much else going on at all. It has a "best-seller" look, implying that the (late) author's name should be good enough to pique an interest in the book.
I currently own the top middle one, which is my favorite. The destruction of the skyscrapers of New York City, which is where one of the three main stories of the book takes place, is shown really well, and I like the addition of the bare tree in the foreground. I think this cover gives the most useful information about the book--just by looking at it, you can safely assume that it involves some kind of modern apocalypse. Although the top right cover also gave a lot of information, most of it wouldn't make sense unless you'd already read the book.

I chose this book because there's so many wildly different covers to choose from, most of which seem to have originated from a brief skimming of the 900+ page book. We didn't talk about the horror genre in class, but the artwork for most of these are somewhat typical horror-book covers: they look hand-painted, and usually have either bright, contrasting colors (especially if they're from the 80s) or shades of black, brown, and/or green (to convey a sense of the "night" or general shadiness in topic). But beyond being able to tell that it's probably a horror book, it's very hard to get an idea of how phenomenal this book is from just the covers, which are usually something that look like they'd be at home in a bargain bin.

Author Photo - Roger Zelazny

Last week we did in class exercises to do with images and portrayals of authors and their works. At the end of the page, we were asked to post a picture of an author the class has not worked with this semester. I choose Roger Zelazny. I did my research paper on him and so I feel like I have gotten to know him a bit. Here is a picture of him:

I find this picture even more interesting after our discussion in class. His pose, leaning against a wall and hand in his pocket, makes him seem very confident and sure with himself. From researching him however, I think he was less confident than he looks. you can almost see this in his face. he looks a little bit uncomfortable. Also the background is Adobe, and his shirt and belt are a little southwestern, implying he was from the southwest, which is actually sort of not true. He moved to Sane Fe much later in life. I also think he looks a bit informal, which we mentioned was a commonality in the photos of males we saw. Do you guys see anything I missed?

"The Big Wink" Steve Brewer, Marketing Writing

The Big Wink 

In Steve Brewer's "The Big Wink" the cover photo is a leaf of marijuana in a glass jar.
The picture depicted on the front cover of the book does not give away the entire story however it gives the reader some insight by first glance. The story is about the medical marijuana debate and the two main character's experiences running from the law.

The use of marketing of this is that the reader at first glance will know vaguely what the story will be focused on. However, from the cover personally I would not have known that this was a mystery novel. The only reason I would have assumed that it would have been a mystery novel is because we have read Steve Brewer's "Box of Pandoras." What do you all think? Could there have been a better cover for Steve Brewer's "The Big Wink"?

Summary can be found here:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Their Questions Now Our Questions

Most of us by now have had the opportunity to ask questions to our assigned authors. The questions ranged from asking about their characters to asking about their personal life. All the answers we have received have been interesting and some even controversial. What would be some of your guys' answers to those same questions we have asked of our guest authors? For example, how much of your own history do you put in your writing? Or how do you get over writers block? How do titles come to you? What about characters names? I know some of us aren't writers but we could still answer these questions because I think everyone has had the opportunity to write fiction at one point in their life.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Consistency Over Quality

Demetria Martinez mentioned in her talk that writing on a regular basis was more important than how nuanced the writing is, at least at first. And other writers have mentioned that--in fact, next to reading, it's one of the top given bits of advice (with a side of controversy about the "write what you know" adage).

Anyway, it got me thinking about the habit of writing, especially with NaNoWriMo this month. For those of you who are writers, do you have a regular practice of writing outside of NaNo? What is it? And for those of you who don't consider yourselves creative writers, do you regularly write in a journal or on a blog? What do you think the pros and cons would be for incorporating this habit into your weekly/daily life?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Favorite Author

So, we have met all of our authors but one. Who is your favorite so far? Why was he or she your favorite?

It is very difficult for me to pick, but I am going to say either Melinda Snodgrass or Kate Horsley. I probably enjoyed Kate Horsley's short stories more than anything else that we have read, and I tried to apply some of her advice to my own writing (for the creative project, specifically). I also really liked Melinda Snodgrass. Although her book was not one of my favorites (I have read a lot of urban fantasy, so it wasn't that interesting to me), I really felt like she was inspiring and interesting. Also, I love Star Trek and I watched some of the episodes that she wrote, and I was very impressed. She said that she thinks any kind of writing is good for you, and I found that inspiring coming from a successful writer. Not that I needed permission to write what I write or anything, but it was nice to hear her say it! So many people are condescending when they learn that you write certain things.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Piece of Advice

So the semester is coming to an end. We only have one author left! It seems like this semester went by faster than previous ones. Anyway, as I am here contemplating how fast time has gone by, I was thinking about the things I have learned this semester, especially in this class. I wanted to ask you guys about the things you have learned about writing in this class? I think we had the unique opportunity to actually get to meet published authors. They gave us so much advice, and although I know we have one author left, what have you guys learned from them? What piece of advice will you carry with you for the rest of your life?

Personally, the piece of advice that I think has stuck with me is to read. A few of the authors told us that in order to be a good writer, you must first be a good reader. When I was a child, I read a lot. Even through high school most of my afternoons were spent reading. However, these past couple of years I have found myself avoiding books. I do read the textbook pages assigned but I no longer feel like I have time to read more of my favorite authors. Because of this class, I think that will have to change. I will look for that extra hour in my day to dedicate to a book. More than ever I think that reading is very important.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Albuquerque again

So this week's book "The Block Captain's Daughter" by Demetria Martinez was only the second book to really be set in Albuquerque. We have had other New Mexico settings including Corralas and Sante Fe, and Butterfly Kisses had a little bit about Albuquerque, but it was not the primary setting. Albuquerque has only been the primary setting for these last two books. Last week we had a discussion post where some of us talked about "our Albuquerque" based on the discussion about "My Town". We have now seen another version of Albuquerque from this weeks author. I would like to hear from you if this weeks book changed your version of Albuquerque at all and in what way. I would also like to hear if anyone noticed major similarities or differences between the two author versions or your version of Albuquerque.

Character Voice in "The Block Captain's Daughter"

While reading this week's book by Demetria Martinez, I was a bit thrown off by the characters' dialogue and the letters Lupe wrote to her daughter. What bothered me was the characters' vocabularies and grammar--I'm caught between belief and disbelief in Lupe's ability to write the words on the page, and some of what the characters say seems unnatural. It may be that Martinez never intended us to believe that the characters speak as they do, but I don't understand why she would want that.

For example, on page 16 Cory apologizes for being "haughty about the fact of our roots." Soon after, Peter says, "I went to Stanford intending to major in Spanish. Instead I majored in depression." Those words might look nice on paper, but it's difficult to imagine them actually being spoken in the context. I feel that the characters' peculiar ways of speaking diminish the distinctions between them.

As for Lupe, I want to say that her grammar and diction are more flowery than I would expect from someone in her situation, but it's also explained that she learned English from American Christians, so her sense of sentence structure might have been influenced by old, formal texts like the Bible.

What do you think about the voices of Martinez's characters? How do they compare to the voices of other characters we've encountered this semester? Am I missing something or making a mistake?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Historical Perspective and Margaret Randall

In her talks for our class yesterday, Margaret Randall brought to our work of the semester a uniquely historical perspective about her own life as well as about Albuquerque. What does such a perspective bring to our class that we have not yet discussed in terms of the works of other writers?

Politics and Writing

Margaret Randall mentioned how her politics have been incredibly influential not only in her writing but in her life. It's amazing to meet someone who was involved in so many revolutions and protests across the world. While my political stance is probably not as extreme as hers, I've often thought about including my commentary in writing. Which issues do you think you include in your writing? Which ones do you wish you could discuss more than you do? Do you think you have any stances that are "too extreme" for publishing?

Writing About Your Hometown

Margaret Randall talked a lot about her desire to return to her hometown, which helped inspire her to write "My Town." While I was born in Omaha, I feel like Las Vegas is my hometown. Up until very recently, I never thought to write about those experiences growing up away from the Strip and what pop culture obsesses over in Vegas. It got me thinking about the things I did want to discuss: Red Rock Canyon, the Spaghetti Bowl of highways around the Strip, a summer job working on the Strip, etc.

What do you guys think you would concentrate on if you were to write a short memoir about your hometown?

Difference between Poets

I was wondering what you all thought about the general way poetry was "performed" for us between VB Price and Margaret Randall. Personally, I enjoyed Price's performance more because he gave the words he spoke a bit more character, but Randall's was enjoyable as well because her poems were mostly memories so they were more "personal to the mind". What do you guys think? Who did you like more, if anyone?