Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Mark of Mur

I thought I’d better go the extra mile since my last post was mostly about me. I wanted to bring to your attention a young woman whose writing and presence in the podcasting world I have enjoyed greatly. Mur Lafferty (who is also the first hit to be found when googling her name) is a writer and podcaster who has had a major impact on the podcasting world. She co-wrote “Tricks of the Podcasting Masters” with Rob Walch, host of podCast411. She is the host of the podcasts Geek Fu Action Grip and I Should Be Writing. I am an avid listener of I Should Be Writing and anxiously await each new episode. I have also recently subscribed to Geek Fu Action Grip, and have greatly enjoyed these podcasts as well.

My first encounter with Mur Lafferty was through the Escape Pod podcast, hosted by editor and producer Steve Eley. We’ll talk about the wonder that is Escape Pod at another time. I listened to a story by Mur Lafferty titled “I Look Forward To Remembering You”. The beauty and creativity of this story had me in awe. I had listened to a lot of really good stories on Escape Pod by that time, but this one literally had me in awe. It’s one of those instances where you feel really good for that writer because of how well they did. And then you feel really jealous of that writer because they thought of the idea before you did. If you enjoy a really good story I suggest you review the archives at Escape Pod and download “I Look Forward To Remembering You”, published on June 6, 2006. While you’re there, I would also suggest subscribing to Escape Pod. With the quality of work that they publish you will not be disappointed. I’ll include some links at the end of this post.

Alright, I’m taking longer than I thought I would, and I want to ensure I do the rest of Mur Lafferty’s work justice. I recently listened to “Heaven Season One” and “Heaven Season Two: Hell”, both of which are available at Heaven is where two friends have died and gone to…well, heaven. While they are there they manage to procure passports to explore other afterlives rife with other gods. It was great fun to explore the possibilities of afterlives with the two main characters. I especially enjoyed exploring the characters from Norse mythology, as these stories and tales are partially to blame for my addiction to the fantasy genre. I don’t know if it is the author’s intent to continue this into another season, but I know I would be tracking it down as soon as it was available, if so.

Friends, I have a very early morning tomorrow and I’m afraid that I have to bring this to a close. There is more material that can be covered when discussing Mur Lafferty, so I think we’ll have to revisit her work in the future. In the meantime I hope that you check her out at the links below. Also, please check out Escape Pod and for some more great fiction and audiobooks. Links are included below.

I’ll leave you with a quote from another author whom I enjoy greatly, Tracy Hickman. “May you always publish peace.”

Mur Lafferty Links:
Mur Lafferty Home Page
I Should Be Writing

Geek Fu Action Grip

Mur Lafferty’s story on Escape Pod

Other links mentioned:
Escape Pod

Yes, It's an Ego Trip

Don’t think me conceited but I googled my name tonight. I was actually surprised by the result. You see I live in a town with another Michael Colwill. Actually, I’ve never met this “doppelganger” of mine. We did share the same pediatrician and the same dentist. In fact, I think both of our names were on the same registry at a number of places. In fact, he purchased a car from the same dealer as I only a few weeks before me. Well, this other Michael Colwill was always the person that came up when I googled my name. He is a police officer in our city, you see, and was mentioned in numerous online articles due to events around our city. Tonight it was different.

When I searched for “Michael Colwill” tonight the number one entry with Google was this blog. Maybe I’m letting it get to my head a little, but I thought that was pretty cool. Especially since my name isn’t extremely obscure. No, there aren’t hundreds of thousands Michael Colwills running around out there, either. Being high on Google’s list of hits for me is one step closer to having my recognized in the blogosphere and podcast communities out there. That in turn, is a step closer to getting my writing out there where people can read, enjoy, critique, or just experience it. I think that’s pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I missed once a month

Everything begins with good intentions. I had planned to update this blog at least once a week, if not more frequently. Of course, I've mad plans in the past to block out a consistent writing time for myself. This becomes more and more challenging the further along my wife is in her pregnancy. Add to the mix a 34-month old boy with a daily release of energy somewhat comparable to Chernobyl and good intentions tend to walk out the door.

No, I am not blaming my family or the life we have for my failure to produce the kind of writing that I am longing to create. Especially this past month. I have had so much going on that all I can think of is the next opportunity I'll have to relax. There hasn't been much of that going on lately. I won't go into the details now, but in the last month I've unexpectedly ended up trading in my Saturn Vue for a Pontiac Vibe (a wonderful vehicle), sang with a 118 voice choir, and threw a large surprise birthday party for my wife with less than two weeks of planning time. Needless to say I've been deepening the perpetual circles under my eyes over the last several weeks. I'll have to go into detail on some of the events I mentioned at a later time. The vehicle exchange and the surprise party are especially good stories that need to be told.

For now I'm going to bring up something I discovered in a podcast I was listening to at work today. First, let me explain my still-evolving podcast habits. My friend Jason Heath, of Jason Heath's Double Bass Blog, and the Contrabass Conversations podcast, introduced me to pod casting last summer. By the end of summer I had purchased my first mp3 player, a Creative Zen 8 GB Micro Photo. I have greatly enjoyed this mp3 player, and am glad that I chose this over an iPod. This is mainly because most non-iPod mp3s coming out these days have their own built in FM receiver. I appreciate being able to use the same device to listen to the radio, my music, and my pod casts.

I started downloading pod casts, using iTunes, before I even owned the mp3 player. Mostly I tracked down online fiction pod casting magazines. I have the opportunity to listen to my headphones at work so I've been a fan of audio books on CD for a long time. Some of the first sites that Jason introduced me to were Escape Pod, the science fiction and fantasy online podcast magazine, and, a provider of free audio books in podcast format (Although you will always find the opportunity to donate to a podcast or free provider of audio books).

When I downloaded a podcast I'd usually retrieve as many of the older pod casts as were available. For example, when I subscribed to Escape Pod, I ended up downloading about a dozen stories all at once. I would then listen to all of those stories before moving to one of the other pod casts I subscribe to. Once I've caught up with a podcast I will then listen to each episode as it becomes available.

Well, because of this (here's where I get to the point) I was listening to the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Podcast posted 01/25/07. Sci-Fi and Fantasy Podcast discusses movies of those genres. The movie being discussed that week was The Dark Crystal, the Jim Henson and Frank Oz movie from 1982 During their discussion they announced that there is going to be a newly released Dark Crystal movie. They were not sure if it will be sequel or re-make. does not have much information on this subject. I am hoping to do some research in the near future here to determine exactly what is going into this film, and what kind of script they will be using. If anyone out there has information on this film, please feel free to leave a comment.

Well, it is getting late on me, and 5 am creeping closer and closer. I will close this post with the hope that I will be posting again for you in far less than a month. Be well.