Ray Harryhausen passed away last week. This has been noted by people more qualified than I to discuss the master of stop-motion magic—Rick Baker, Adam Savage, Todd Masters, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, and more. The superhuman talent and perseverance evident in a Harryhausen effects sequence can easily be seen in countless visual effects artists since he first brought his creations to frame-by-frame life on the big screen. That makes sense. So how can I really say anything of worth when I say that I was also profoundly influenced by the artistry of Ray Harryhausen? With modesty, and a story about Clash of the Titans. Continue reading…
I have a ghost story of my own. At least, I have a ghost-cat story. My final year as an undergraduate was spent in relative splendor. My friends and I lucked into tenancy in the house of a professor on sabbatical. Twelve foot ceilings! Built in bookshelves! Three cats! Real, grown-up furniture! Wait… let’s get [...]
In April, the Guttersnipes like to mix it up a little. This month, Comics Editor Carol Borden writes about romance. “You hit him with a frying pan,” he said to her. “How come you didn’t grab a knife?” “The frying pan was closer.” Her eyes slid away. “It’s not like I had time to pick [...]
The first thing you have to understand is this: I hate zombies. Truly, completely HATE them. Mine is a complex hatred, operating on more than one level. At the core I am, as previously stated, a huge chicken. Zombies, for their part, are one of horror’s basic building blocks. They’re practically terror ground zero. [...]
Ah, mid-February. That time of year in which Romance authors are hounded by the media for sound bites and wink-wink, nudge-nudge style “advice” for hackneyed articles about Valentine’s Day, most of which will appear under headlines made awkward by ham-handed double-entendres*. I’m all for Romance writers getting some press, but the box-checking, paper-thin nature of [...]
Alex’s excellent article last week prompted Gutter Overlord Carol to suggest we each use this month to write about masculinity in our own particular capacity. Having been by odd coincidence right in the middle of reading The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine (a fascinating look at the physical and hormonal characteristics unique to, um, the [...]
It’s the end of the year; I work in retail; I have the flu. All of which means that for the past couple weeks I’ve been re-reading rather than reading. Mostly Eva Ibbotson, whose warmth reminds me not only that I love reading, but why. Which makes this a good time for a retrospective list. [...]
I’ve been thinking about heroes and archetypes again (which is not actually news: story archetype is a sandbox in which I happily spend a lot of time). Feels like it’s everywhere these days. A few weeks back I was on a panel at the World Fantasy Convention that discussed love and monsters. Alex and Carol [...]
(No, I don’t mean that kind of bump. Sheesh. You people.) Given the timing of this column, and its proximity to Halloween, it seemed logical to write about the spooky side of Romance. But it was a little harder than I thought to put together a reading list. I wanted to concentrate on books that [...]
I’ve been on a bit of a historical binge recently: testing some new authors, re-reading old favourites. This trip down the historical record lane is due largely to author Sherry Thomas. More to the point, to her recent novel Ravishing the Heiress.
As I said this time last year, I like back to school season. I love the energy of it. I miss the sense of anticipation, of knowing I had lots of new things to look forward to. At least, usually I do. Perhaps I’m just feeling particularly curmudgeonly this season, or maybe summer was just [...]
I love to read. I love the act of reading, the sensation of sinking mind-first into a story. I need a certain amount of reading if I’m to function at full capacity. I consider it a physiological necessity, like sleep, or chocolate. Sure, I can get not-quite-enough for a few days, but sooner or later [...]
Recently, I’ve been thinking about danger. Specifically, the kind of danger that runs through a certain subsection of Romance, often called ‘romantic suspense’. These are the stories that drop the hero and heroine into physical jeopardy in addition to exposing them to all the emotional risks of falling in love. When done well, they share [...]
I make a conscious attempt to not repeat myself with this column. It would be easy to do: my favourite writers are my favourites for a reason, and yay, they keep writing great books. But I figure that wouldn’t be terribly interesting for anyone but me. Besides, there are so many Romances published every year. [...]
Every April the Gutter switches things up. This month Screen Editor alex writes about Romance. I admit to being a romantic, but I don’t have much experience with romance novels. Like most teenagers, I had a knack for finding the dirty bits in any likely looking books I could find on the shelf, and at [...]
Computers and I are not the best of friends. We’re more like work colleagues who really don’t care for one another. We may act all professional, but secretly we’re each making sarcastic comments about the other’s hair, clothing, and annoying personal habits. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
Several years ago I went to Disney World with friends who had a small child. The three of us adults were almost enough to keep the little one from exploding in all directions, but afterwards I needed a vacation from my vacation. So I headed off to Daytona Beach, intending to spend a few days [...]
Last February, I had a chance to talk to Julianne MacLean, a USA Today bestselling Romance author from Bedford, Nova Scotia. We discussed her career development, her move to a new publisher, and her connection to the writing community. Julianne was about to see the release of a brand new trilogy, all three books of [...]
I was a little disappointed by how many Romances I liked this year. Mostly because I wanted to love so many more of them. But as always, some titles managed to rise above the rest. Here are some of my favourites from this year.
Due to a personal emergency, Romance Editor Chris Szego won’t be able to post a new article this week. She will be back next month. Enjoy this timely piece, originally published in 2009. I’ve put it off long enough. Thought, ‘We can get into that later’, and ‘I should wait till the fuss dies down [...]
By its very nature, a Romance is suffused with positive attitude. The characters learn who they are, what kind of lives they want, and then proceed to go out and get them. The end result is effort rewarded (which is frankly more interesting than virtue rewarded, because virtuousness can be boring). We like to read [...]keep looking »