Sunday, December 23, 2012

Website Woes and Internet Foes
     At the end of 2012 I find myself at a bit of a disadvantage, thanks greatly to someone hacking my website and getting it listed as an attack site on Google. I'm not really sure what the motivation was, but after numerous attempts to plug the security issues I finally made a decision to pull the site right down and my webmaster is now working to get the site up and running.
     Unfortunately, once you are painted with this scarlet letter it takes 3 months to get off the Google shit list. Anyhow, it is what it is and for the time being I will be using my blog here to update folks on what is happening.
     So, with that said here is a quick update on what I am doing in the year 2013.


     I am still hard at work on ACADIA EVENT and it is coming together quite well in that I have the entire book figured out and the finish line in my sights. As with: THE EQUINOX I am vetting each chapter through a fellow writer and he is offering feedback. Acadia should be finished sometime in 2013 and once the drafts are completed I may actually include some artwork to accompany the book.
     I would be done the book much sooner if I didn't have a pesky day job, but if you're not a full time writer with an awesome contract to see you through and movie producers beating on your door that is the cross you must bear. Just spitballing here, but if everyone would go to Amazon and buy five copies of Equinox that would certainly lessen the need for that pesky day job. What? Your credit cards are maxed out from Christmas Shopping? Did you buy someone you love a copy of The Equinox? Enough said...


     This is a new project I am really excited about.  In the New Year I am going to podcast the entire Equinox in an episodic chapter a week.
     I came by the idea after being asked if I would consider turning THE EQUINOX into an audio book for those who do not have the time to sit down and read the book. Yes, there are those people. Truck drivers and people who work long days don't have time to curl up with a book would certainly benefit from an audio version. I, myself have been listening to a great deal of audiobooks as I spend long days on the road and want to keep up on stimulating my imagination. After getting past the fact that I hate the sound of my own voice (yes I'm the narrator) I am now more comfortable with reading aloud, so it will be you the listener who will have to get past the cringe factor.
     Along with podcasting THE EQUINOX, I am also reaching out to the many Podcast sites out there who want to do a bit of cross pollination, in that if you help me get the word out I will feature your site before reading a chapter. Anyhow there will be more to follow after I get some of the technical stuff figured out, including getting it up on iTunes and making it available on the new secure site my webmaster is now hard at work on.


     Just before Christmas I announced that anyone who bought a copy of THE EQUINOX and emailed me a copy of their proof of purchase would have their name tossed into a hat and one lucky individual would get a signed Hardcover Library Edition of THE EQUINOX. This Library edition was a special order I had made for my private collection and is not available to the general public. On occasion I have fired off a couple copies of this finely crafted book to certain individuals, but there are many in existence. Four have been sent out and I hold a couple in my private library. 
     Dave MacNeil, of New Glasgow Nova Scotia had his name drawn and will get his signed copy sometime in the New Year. Congratulations Dave! As I said on Facebook, not only did the world not end, but you scored a cool collectable.


      Like many I have embraced social media including Facebook and Twitter. I'm still trying to figure out the practical application of twitter, I've only got 90 something followers, but Facebook is a regular regime where I love interacting with people. When I say interacting, that doesn't mean I want to play Mafia Wars or Farmville. I think that stuff sucks and I don't have time to tend to virtual goats or wack people who might flip for the cops. I do however like looking at internet pictures, listrening to interesting podcasts about movies and when all else fails just prodding one another with the occasional dig.
      In addition to my Facebook page I also have a group called: Acadia Event Updates and Artwork that anyone on Facebook can join. It is in the section I post new artwork and give updates on how the book is coming along.  I also have taken to posting photographs, an amateur past time of mine at my new Flickr Page


      Well, we're winding down to the big day and I'm sure all of you out there are as happy as I am to eat too much, maybe drink too much and enjoy having your immediate family close at hand. My wishes go out to all this holiday season, I hope you find comfort in the sanctity of those you love. 
      Not all of us are blessed with good fortune this season. Two days ago I visited a friend whose son is in the last stages of terminal cancer. It was heartbreaking to see my friend this way and to see his son so young, with little kids in such a state. May the strength of their family see them through these very difficult times. Not to get sanctimonious, but if you are with the ones you love, remember that someone else may not be as a fortunate.

Merry Christmas
Mark aka MJ Preston

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Movies: What's hot what's not!

     I saw three movies this week and thought I would share my feelings about whether or not they are worth checking out. Here they are in no particular order.

THE GREY- Directed by Joe Carnahan - Starring Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo
Screenplay by Joe Carnahan and Ian MacKenzie Jeffers

    The Grey with Liam Neeson is about a hunter along with a group of oil roughnecks who find themselves fighting for their lives after their commercial flight crashes into the Alaskan tundra.
     The film introduces us to a skilled hunter named Ottaway (played by Neeson)  who culls wolves in and around the oil patch, but the sharp shooter is an individual in deep mourning at the loss of his wife and in fact somewhat suicidal.
     When the plane crashes it seems things can't get any worse until a pack of wolves begin stalking the survivors as if they were a herd instead of man. Without his rifle Ottaway attempts to prepare the men for the impending danger, but this does not come without at least some resistance by one member named Diaz. As the group undergoes a bit of alpha-male infighting the wolves attack and the men realize that their only strength is in numbers. It is at this point they decide to that they will not survive the elements or the wolves if they do not try and hike out of the barrens.
     Overall, 'The Grey' is a stunning film to watch and Neeson carries his character forward under the direction of Joe Carnahan quite effectively. The backdrop of Alaskan landscape does well to illustrate the cold and elements the men face as they are systematically killed by the relentless wolf pack. There are few flaws in the script, most notably was the decision to leave the crashed aircraft to get to safety. The fact that it was a source of refuge from the wolves and the elements is dwarfed only by the fact that all commercial aircraft have transponders which would surely have led to rescue.
     That aside, I would recommend this film to anyone looking for a good bout of pulse pounding entertainment. Liam Neeson, along with actors Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts and Dermot Mulroney carry this tale of survival to an ending that is both unexpected and very refreshing.

RATING (Definitely worth seeing)

THE DARKEST HOUR  Directed by Chris Gorak and produced by Timur Bekmambetoy.
Starring Emile Hirsch, Max Minghella

     Two young tech savvy businessmen go to Moscow to sell their social networking program to investors only to find they've been screwed over by the middle man they thought was helping get a footprint in the Russian Capital.
     What do young men who've been screwed over for billions do when this happens? Well, they go 'Clubbing' of course and drown their sorrows in vodka and woman, but that gets interupted by an alien invasion that sucks all the electricity out of the power grid and vaporizes humans when touched by the invisible entities. Luckily, the main characters manage to take refuge in a basement while Moscow and the rest of the world falls victim to the invasion.
     Don't get me wrong, I like a good invasion flick as much as the next guy or gal, but this movie had some real time-line issues that left me (the guy who smoked up in science) wondering if the writers had a smick about anything.
     First off, the world gets wiped out in a day, or is it a week, a month? I don't really know, but what we do know is that during that rather murky time-line while our characters were hiding out in the basement some people, in particularly a fat Russian plummer has already developed a microwave gun that disables the aliens force field.
     It was from this point that I began to think: "Oh man, guess I gotta watch it until the end."
     And I did and it sucked.

RATING (Not worth seeing)

Directed by Drew Goddard
Starring Fran Kranz, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison

     Five friends set out for a cabin in the woods that is no doubt going to be a haven for serial killers, zombie families, or whatever horror might horror might suit your fancy.
     If you go to see Cabin in the Woods thinking that you are going to be watching another 70's style slasher film, then guess again. This movie is filled with gore, laughs, and right from the get go you are in on the fact that the five teens destiny is already preordained by scientists working behind the scenes to deliver the particular path they take.
     It plays like a slasher film, whilst the command center below the cabin controls who lives and who dies, but the bigger story is that the film basically says that every slasher movie, creature feature and monster film is real and that the command center is delivering these teenagers to slaughter to serve a higher purpose. I won't ruin that for you, but will say that Fran Kranz, who plays 'Marty' the classic stoner actually steals the spotlight with his  laid back humor and witty responses that are tempered by whatever brand of weed it is that he is smoking in his travel-mug/bong.
     I loved this film, it was a funny interesting and when it was all over I actually heard the audience clapping when the credits rolled. If you're a horror fan who has a sense of humor you will like this movie.

RATING (Definitely worth seeing)