How My Books Are Like Marvel Comics Movies #amwriting #indiepub

How My Books Are Like Marvel Comics Movies

Guardians of the Galaxy releases August 1 — and I cannot MFin’ waaaaaaaaait, suckaaaaaaaas!

I’m not joking, either. While I never read the comic back in the days when I did read comics, I became excited about the film upon hearing it was going into production.

Zoe Saldana

Why? Well, Zoe Saldana, for one. (My Lord, she is teh perfection.) But also because I knew it would somehow tie into the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe. And the prospect of that happening intrigued me to no end.

You see, I love how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is truly a shared universe. As TV Tropes says:

Because Marvel Films holds the rights to all Marvel Comics characters not given to other studios (Spider-ManX-MenFantastic FourMen In Black and Kick-Ass), they have managed to bridge together a single continuity family named the Marvel Cinematic Universe with links between the characters’ stories. Nick Fury makes a cameo in Iron Man referring Tony Stark to the “Avenger Initiative,” Tony appears in the film of The Incredible Hulk talking to General Ross about putting a team together (also having a nod to Captain America: The First Avenger), Iron Man 2 gave many hints to Thor, and the whole thing came together in The Avengers as a Crisis Crossover. This cycle is planned to be repeated, starting with Iron Man 3 in 2013 and building up to to an Avengers sequel in 2015.

Nothing has been done like this in films before. The events of, say, Captain America: The Winter Soldier will have massive consequences for the Marvel films to follow. Characters interact and reference each other. These films take place in the same world.

Of course, they’ve done this forever in the comics. And the concept of a shared literary universe across completely different books and stories (not sequels or spinoffs) was introduced to me in the work of Stephen King. Again, from TV Tropes:

Stephen King‘s ‘Verse, which spins around The Dark Tower. Almost every novel he has ever written makes some small mention to at least one of his others. He is even a part of his own ‘Verse, referred to, for example, as “That fella up in Bangor who can’t write a sentence without the F-word.” This is lampshaded in Misery, in which writer Paul Sheldon has trouble starting a new book without his concordance.

My work is similar in that each book I’ve written so far makes some sort of reference or has a connect to another one. For instance, the burgeoning record label Kill A Nigga Records introduced in Guestlist is name-checked in Orange Mound. There’s a character named Karen Discoball mentioned in Guestlist who’s also briefly mentioned in Kisses for Tati — and who’ll make a bona fide appearance in Manhattan Sweetheart. Oh, and several characters from Guestlist also reappear in Manhattan Sweetheart.

The world-building approach of Marvel Studios certainly hasn’t been lost on me — as you can see, it’s been a rather large influence in how I’ve been writing my stories. And the beauty of it all is, you don’t need to read any of the earlier books to catch up or anything like that. Each story can stand on its own. But for those who have been keeping up with the continuity, and spotting those little Easter eggs, I think they are having a little more rewarding experience. Ha!



Medium Cool: Lomography Back! #jfhappy #100happydays

Lomography Diana F+

A few years back, I’d picked up a new hobby: film photography, via hipster camera company Lomography.

Lomography got me with their nostalgic, playful vibe and I jumped right in, first copping a La Sardina and then their flagship camera, the LOMO LC-A+.

Alas, various factors played into my losing interest in my newfound hobby — time, money, and the fact that my local Target decided to do away with film developing. And when the rewind knob on my LOMO literally crumbled apart, I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Fuck it.”

But the thing is — and those who know me know this is true — I love taking pictures. I love the art and craft of photography. I’ve always admired the work of artists like Gordon Parks, Diane Arbus, Carrie Mae Weems, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton,  Herb Ritts, and yes, even the notorious and controversial Terry Richardson.

And, so, I am going to give it another go.

Pictured above is my latest acquisition: the Diana F+. It is Lomography’s version of the classic medium format camera that was popular in the ’60s (hence its rather “mod” look). I plan on taking the Diana everywhere I can, so don’t be surprised if you see me and I’m sticking it all up in your face, haha!

I’m still gonna put some mileage on the LOMO and Sardina, too. They’re great 35mm cameras with unique lenses that result in some interesting looking photos.

And of course I plan on sharing with you all the photos I take. Here on the blog, and maybe, just maybe, in book form, too.

Oh oh ohhhhhhhhhhhh! Ha! Cheers!

Donna Tartt Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Fiction

Donna Tartt by Beowulf Sheehan

On Monday, April 14, it was announced that Donna Tartt‘s best-selling novel The Goldfinch was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The book, published by Little, Brown and Company, was described by Pulitzer judges as a “beautifully written coming-of-age novel with exquisitely drawn characters that follows a grieving boy’s entanglement with a small famous painting that has eluded destruction, a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart.”

Photo of Donna Tartt © Beowulf Sheehan

One Year and Counting

One Year and Counting

Today is my 1-year anniversary at [redacted]. It’s funny — after living in New York City for six and a half years, I’m actually doing what I set out to do. I’m actually living the dream.

Of course, it’s playing out much differently than I’d originally envisioned. When I first settled down in Brooklyn in October 2007, I’d planned on leaving the party life behind and concentrating on writing. But I set my standards low. I hoped to one day write for Vibe or XXL or The Source, or maybe for the then-exciting Gawker.

However, life did what it tends to do, and nothing went exactly as planned. Thank God for that.

I am an editor — an bona fide, honest-to-God, according-to-Hoyle editor — at a major print publication. In anera of page hits and viral views, that is a definite rarity.

But not only am I to ensure that pieces are grammatically sound, I also sometimes lay them out on the page. Y’know, make them look pretty. And at times I even get to play photo editor, choosing the pictures and illustrations that further enhance the stories.

I work odd hours now and I haven’t been as social lately. But the truth is, I love what I’m doing. I love the position I’m in. I love the path I’m on.

The past year has been one of growth and revelation. I’m very appreciative of all that’s taken place. Now, it’s time to celebrate.

TOLDJA! @KimKardashian Will Grace Vogue’s April 2014 Cover (Good Ass Job, @KanyeWest!) #YouMad


Didn’t I say this was going to happen?

In news confirmed by the homie Devon on the Fashion Citizen Instagram, reality TV celebutante Kim Kardashian is finally getting that coveted Vogue cover.

The April 2014 issue features Kim with her fiancé Kanye West looking all lovey-dovey on the cover, which was shot by Annie Leibovitz, and the accompanying story will touch on her family life and baby North.

Folks will probably be mad for no reason, but hey whatever. I’m happy for Kim. Hooray!

novelist. editor. foodie. alcoholic. sui generis.