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News & Events for C. Dennis Moore

A FREE GIFT FROM FUNKO!

Posted 1/22/2017

I got an email a few weeks ago from Marvel Collector Corps saying Funko was sending me a free gift.  That's all it said, no other details.  So I had no idea what was coming and, in fact, forgot all about it until the doorbell rang yesterday, which the lady who delivers my mail does if there's a big package and someone's home.  Imagine my surprise when this was what she had for me.  It's definitely more than I was expecting, but I'm not complaining:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WRITING WITH FLAWS

Posted 1/17/2017

“Front-rank characters should have some defect, some conflicting inner polarity, some real or imagined inadequacy.” --Barnaby Conrad

If only I’d known this two decades ago. Hell, I sort of did, I guess. I’ve been reading Marvel comics since I was 15 and one thing Stan Lee knew back in 1961 was that characters, in order for a reader to connect with this super hero who seems larger than life and has abilities the average person could never even dream, that character has to have a struggle in his life. For Peter Parker, he’s got super strength, can stick to walls, is a brilliant inventor, but he just can’t catch a break and has to make a living selling pictures of his alter ego to a man who publicly calls him a menace.

Tony Stark, another genius inventor and founding member of the Avengers, is a womanizing alcoholic.

Bruce Banner … another genius … must fight a constant battle against the mindless beast that lives within him.

See, the DC heroes never had these problems. Sure, Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered in front of him. But Clark Kent had a happy, stable childhood and unbelievable power to boot. Sure, he’s got Lex Luthor always at his heels, but let’s be honest: if he wanted to, Superman could snap Luthor in half and be done with him.

Wonder Woman comes from Paradise Island. I mean PARADISE ISLAND!!! I was born in Saint Joseph, MISSOURI and that’s a LONG way from Paradise Friggin’ Island.

Barry Allen (The Flash), Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), Aquaman. Sure, they have their share of troubles when it comes to their rogues galleries, but at the end of the day, you never read stories about Barry wondering how he was gonna pay his rent, or Hal flying everywhere because he couldn’t afford a car. Aquaman never went home at night to find his lights had been shut off.

And relationship problems? Don’t even get me started on the difference between Marvel and DC. The point here is that Stan Lee knew a long time ago that his characters, no matter how amazing or incredible, had to be PEOPLE. And people are flawed. Good God, are they! Unfortunately, I feel like it took me FOREVER to understand this to the point I could utilize it in my fiction. And I’m still working on it to this day. For instance, the project I’m currently and secretly working on has five main characters and I need to give each one a flaw--but without making it feel like a fictional flaw for the sake of giving them a flaw. They have to come as a natural extension of who that character is. So that’s where I am on the current--secret--project.

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WRITING WITH MUSIC

Posted 1/16/2017

“The actual process of writing…demands complete, noiseless privacy, without even music; a baby howling two blocks away will drive me nuts.” --William Styron

This is me. Sometimes. There was a time, however, from about 1992-2003 when I had music playing from the moment I sat down to write until I was done for the day. Then one day, for whatever reason, I found myself unable to concentrate if music was playing. I know a lot of writers will tell you they’ve always got music playing, that it helps their creativity--and that was me, too. I can even tell you that I was listening to Paul McCartney when I wrote my story “Coming Down the Mountain”, specifically the song “C-Moon”. How do I know that for a story I wrote maybe 15 years ago? Because I named one character Seamoon and another Toomey.

But then one day, nothing. I just couldn’t focus. And I envy the hell out of those writers who can still make it happen. My friend Caleb Straus writes with music all the time. Lucky fucker. I put on music every now and then again--right now I’m listening to THE VERY BEST OF PRINCE. I’ve tried the “Coming Down the Mountain” trick again from time to time over the last few years, but have found that it depends on the project. In the middle of a novel is okay, sometimes. But like when I was working on the Angel Hill videogame a few weeks ago, I had to have silence in my office. I think it all depends on whether or not I have the leeway to let my mind wander. The game took a lot of concentration. In the middle of a novel, I have a little more breathing room. I would love, however, to get back to the days when it was music music music, because my God I have a ton of CDs (remember those?) in my office.

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WRITING IN YOUR OWN SPACE

Posted 1/13/2017

"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." --Virginia Woolf

This is 100% accurate.  You have to do it.  And I get that not everyone has a separate room in their house where they can go and close the door and work in solitude, but if you want to do this job and do it seriously, you HAVE to set up a space that is just yours, and when you're in that space, no one is allowed to intrude.  It can be a corner of the bedroom, or the dining room table during certain hours of the day.  Honestly, though, you'd be better off in a closet.  A closed door does wonders for the creative mind.  I write at home alone for most of the day, but even when I'm the only one in the house, I close my office door.  It's a mental trick to shut out the world and really focus.  I've never understood how people are able to take their laptop to a coffee shop and create anything of value surrounded by other people.  That's not to say it's wrong, or they can't do it, I just don't get it.  A writer--or musician or painter, whatever your creative outlet of choice--needs to have a space dedicated to that thing.  It's the first step in taking it seriously as opposed to seeing it as simply a hobby.

And then, once you've cordoned off your area for WORK, personalize it.  Put up a picture, place an action figure next to your computer, or buy a chair that is just for writing.  Whatever you do, personalize that space so everyone else in the house knows this is MY spot where I work.

If you're still trying to create at the kitchen table while the family is in the living room watching television all night, or worse, you're huddled one on end of the couch with your laptop while they're playing videogames two feet from you, take this one important step and get the hell out.  Find a room, ANY room, with a door, even the aforementioned closet.  Tape a sign to the outside of that door that reads "Unless it's bleeding, it can wait!", and then close that door and don't open it again until you're done for the day.  You have to do it.  You'll thank me later.

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WRITING OUT OF NECESSITY

Posted 1/8/2017

“A publisher friend of mine says that most writers are not real writers, they are just people who ‘want to have written.’ Real writers are those who want to write, need to write, have to write.” --Robert Penn Warren

Ain’t it the truth. I’ve met so many writers over the last 20+ years who were obviously only in it for the prestige, so they could pull out a magazine or an anthology and see their name in print and show it to people and say, “I wrote that.”

I’ve heard from writers who have said, out loud, in public, where people can hear them, that if publishing wasn’t so easy now, they never would have stuck it out. They don’t have the patience for the submission process, and they don’t need any editors telling them their stuff isn’t right for this or that publication.

Fucking pussies. Any writer worth a shit will tell you this is a HARD business, but they stuck with it because they couldn’t imagine their life any other way, that WRITING is the thing they were meant to do. Whether world-renowned or living in obscurity, they were going to be writing.

I wrote for several years before I ever saw publication, and it was a good 20 years before I ever made any real money at it. But through all those years of form rejections, I was up every morning at 4:00 AM to write for two hours before work. And if I overslept, it ruined my entire day, even if I got up in time to make it to work, but not in time to write. Going on vacation was also sketchy because that’s 3 or 4 days not writing, and anyone who lives and breathes this stuff will tell you those 3 or 4 days feel like 3 or 4 months. The first thing you want to do when you get home is write. You can unpack later.

But we come back to the “want to have written” camp. I just can’t deal with these people. I just can’t. Love it or leave it alone.

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SKETCHBOX, JANUARY 2017

Posted 1/6/2017

SketchBox came yesterday.  Not a bad box, probably worth the $31, and stuff my daughter can put to use right away on a project she's working on. Here's the haul (from left to right):

4 x Sargent Liquid metal Watercolors ($4.11 each): Add dazzling detail and eye-catching special effects to any watercolor painting or create entire gold and copper toned pieces with a real mica shimmer.  These watercolor pans offer rich, vibrant metallic color.  Each is individually packaged in a durable and reusable clear plastic clamshell container.

Princeton Heritage Round Size 2 ($5.05): Princeton's flagship brush.  More than 20 years ago, Hertiage Series was the first synthetic sable to be offered to artists.  Heritage was developed for Princeton by master Japanese brush-maker Naohide Takamoto.  This brush drinks up gulps of water, paints supple strokes and has a natural snap.

Pebeo 4 Artist Marker 4mm - Silver ($4.50): This one is a show stopper!  it's just like liquid metal creating a near mirror like finish on a flat surface.  This marker is perfect for accenting your new finished metallic water color piece.  Just like oil paints, these fast-drying colors can be reworked when dry to create shading, fading, and gradients.  Saturate the tip with silver to create splashing and dripping effects!

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Big Brush Pen ($5.75): These Pitt Artist Pens contain the same high-quality pigmented India Ink as the originals, but with Big Brush nibs for full coverage or narrow, detailed strokes.  Acid-free, archival ink is smudgeproof, waterproof, and won't bleed through paper making it perfect to outline your watercolor piece.

The inspiration piece this month is from Rose Ingracia, who had this to say:

Hello, my name is Rose, and I am a self-taught artist from the beautiful state of Nebraska.  I have loved the arts ever since I could hold a pencil.  However, seeking inspiration from other artists and being able to connect is really what pushed me to take art more seriously.  My favorite medium to work with is watercolor, because the light pigment creates an elegant look that I really love.  I love to create my pieces with a meaning behind them, so each one of my works give a little insight into my life.  I am very happy to have started my very own small business and I look forward to continued growth.  As I continue developing my skills as at artists, my one hope is to inspire others, just as they have inspired me.  as an artist, my favorite quote is by Edgar Degas, "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."

Cehck out more on my Instagram @justyourordinaryartist, and my Etsy shop.

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WRITING WITH AN EDITOR

Posted 1/5/2017

“On the whole, I have found editors friendly and pleasant, but unpredictable and uncertain and occasionally embarrassing in their desperation. So seldom do they get what they think they want that they tend to become incoherent in their insistent repetition of their needs. A writer does well to listen to them, but not too often, and not for too long.”
--Jerome Weidman

Working with editors is tricky business. I’ve worked with a lot of editors over the years--or rather, a lot of people who have edited my work. And that last line, about not listening to them for too long is absolutely right. The thing to remember when dealing with editors--and when I talk about editors here, I’m talking strictly about those people we pay to look over our stories and make sure we’re not about to embarrass ourselves by putting them out into the world--is that their word isn’t law.

Whether you get ask a friend to proofread your story and offer suggestions, or you paid one to help you shape your final story because of their experience and expertise in the field, the final say is still yours. As the author, no one knows the story better than you. You may not have conveyed it in the best possible way, the clearest way, and an editor will, hopefully, be able to help you bring that out. But if they start talking about how you have to make this change and make that change and this bit here in the middle is stupid and wrong, that’s when you have to stop for a moment and ask yourself what is the story I wanted to tell and is this change going to help tell that story, or is this change simply the editor’s opinion?

I once had a short story accepted for publication on the condition I drop ¾ of it (to be fair, it was really three very short stories told as one, so I COULD have dropped three of the four and been left with one short short story). I looked at it. I considered it. And then I wrote back and told the editor thanks, but even if I made that change, and then, for some reason, the magazine folded before my story saw publication, I’d just put those other parts back in there the next time I submitted it, because THAT was the story I wanted to tell there.

The editor told me he understood, and although he wouldn’t be taking the story as it was, I had earned his respect. Granted, a check for publication would have been great, but as a newbie--and I was a TOTAL newbie; I think I had, at that point, maybe 2 credits to my name--respect of an industry pro was pretty good too. And it paid off later when I asked that editor for a blurb for an upcoming novella that was being published.

Listening to your editor is very important; that’s why we hire them, because we want their advice and opinions, and every story will benefit from another set of eyes. Or two. Or four. But when they say what they have to say, it’s your job then to take it all into consideration, but also to know what to take in and what to discard. Typos or continuity errors, definitely listen to those. But changes to the entire structure of your story--which they WILL suggest from time to time--or deleting entire sections of a story--which, again, they WILL suggest from time to time--you have to know when to take that advice and when to politely decline. Only you can make that call, and it’s so easy to fall into the trap of taking their every word as gospel. Too many times in the early days did I get a story back from an editor, full of marks and whatnot, and just go through making all the changes they suggested without considering whether that change was right for the story or not. So be careful when working with editors. Totally DO work with them; they’re an important step in turning first draft muck into polished gold. But also remember who’s the boss and who has final say. That would be YOU. The WRITER.

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MARVEL COLLECTOR CORPS, DECEMBER: X-MEN

Posted 1/4/2017

The day after my LootCrate came last month, I got the new Marvel Collector Corps box.  This month's theme was:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   First we've got the Funko POP! figure.  This month is not only Wolverine, but Wolverine on his motorcycle.  It's a pretty cool figure except Wolverine doesn't really stay on it unless you wedge his left hand UNDER the handlebar.  And if you drop it even a few inches onto your desk, that handlebar is liable to break off.  Trust me.  Dammit.

The Mystique is the debut of a new line of figures from Rock Candy.  It's got a bobblehead and it doesn't stand too well, but it's a nice looking figure.

I frigging LOVE this shirt, an official Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters shirt!  I wore this shirt the day I got it.

The patch and pin are on the wall with all the other patches and pins I've received in my Marvel boxes.  And this month's comic, CHAMPIONS #1, is one I've not only already read, but enjoyed.  And since I have already read it, I don't have to break the seal on this variant cover.

Next month's box promises to be pretty damn interesting, too:

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LOOTCRATE DECEMBER: REVOLUTION

Posted 1/3/2017

Wow, I almost totally forgot to do the most recent LootCrate.  No surprise; when you see how skimpy it was you'll understand why it almost slipped my mind.  The theme last month was Revolution.  Personally, I'd have preferred it be full of 1984-1996-era Prince items, but whatever.  Here's the haul:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 First up, there's the Figure Fantasy hardcover book from Insight Editions.  It's actually pretty cool.  A coffee table book, really, showing various action figures in various poses and settings.

Next up, an exclusive Assassin's Creed Aguilar Funko Pop! figure.  Gave this to my 23-year-old son.  I know nothing of Assassin's Creed.

I admit, I love this shirt from Mr. Robot.  FSOCIETY.  What a great sentiment.

And finally, this patch, by designer Dylan Hay-Chapman, an exclusive Firefly Independents patch I've pinned to my wall along with all the other LootCrate patches I've collected.

Granted, the stuff in this crate isn't TERRIBLE, it's just ... I don't know ... who cares?  What am I gonna do with a patch other than pin it to my wall?  This book, there is almost not text in it, so it's gonna take 5 minutes to go through.  I'll enjoy the shirt for a while, but the Pop! figure?  Meh.

I was really close, after receiving this box, to cancelling my LootCrate subscription, until I saw next month's theme.  I think it's Origins, and there's gonna be some Superman stuff in there.  My 23-year-old is obsessed (even named his son Lex Luthor!), so, yeah, I'll give it another month, then we'll see.

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THE FINAL COMIC HAUL OF 2016

Posted 1/2/2017

The new comic shipment came the other day and it's a big one.  But it's not as big as it should be.  I'm still finding several titles I've ordered, several titles I've PAID for (because you pay for the shipment ahead of time and they ship it at the end of the month) that still haven't shown up.  We've never gotten a single Doctor Who comic, nor any of the Harley Quinn titles my daughter reads.  I'll have to look into that.  Meanwhile, this month, my daughter got 4, my son got 7, and I got 19.  Here's the haul (as always, click the link in the covers to read along with us):

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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