Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Charts

This year has been an interesting year for publishing and entertainment. For me, it’s been a chance to start a blog, join a group blog, and begin seriously reading other blogs while figuring out just what to do with this Beyond the Charts thing I’m embarking on.

I’ve decided to make a list of the Top 10 Blogs I know I will be following on a regular basis in the coming year. The one you’re reading is a given. ūüėČ

1. The New Authors Fellowship – This is the group blog I am a part of and I’ve made some good friends there as well as have read some very interesting entries over the last year I’ve been a part of it. These are some great writers with some stories to tell, and they don’t do a bad job of blogging about things either.

2. Kevin J. Anderson – Kevin and I became friends online a couple of years ago when I contacted him as a fan and that friendship has grown beyond the fan/author to where we’ve talked about deeply personal issues. He’s a really good person and an awesome author, and his blog is chock full of tid bits on writing and productivity, not to mention that he recently reposted his 11 Tips for Writers which he often cites at conventions and workshops.

3. Mike Duran – This is a blog I’ve been following with much interest this year as he writes in two areas that I am very much interested in, but rarely see blended together and done right: Horror/Thriller fiction and¬†Christian fiction. With the way he’s talked on his blog this past year about this ghost story he’s written, I have some high hopes for his book coming out in February. I hope I’m not disappointed. The Resurrection hits bookstores’ shelves in February.

4. Dean Wesley Smith – A long time hand in the field of writing, he is keeping up on all the goings on in the publishing industry and keeping new and current writers abreast of all the scams and false hopes and then telling them what they need to know and keep track of. A true expert if there ever was one.

5. Brandon Sanderson – I’m really just discovering him. I first heard of him because he took over Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after the unfortunate passing of the original author, but since I was still working my way through Jordan’s books, I just took that as a good sign that I could actually finish reading the series when I get to that point.¬†Since then, I’ve discovered that he had a good reason for being picked for that task as I’ve started reading him with his free download Warbreaker. Once I’m finished, next up from him: The Way of Kings. I’m following his blog to see about news on his projects and to see what else he might say about the industry.

6. Wil Wheaton – Yes, most of you probably remember him as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but there’s a lot more to this fellow besides that role from so long ago. Read his blog to find out.

7. Michael Stackpole – I first read him with the Star Wars novels he’s done. This year I’ve looked over some of his other books online to decide what to read beyond that¬†and have followed his blog some too. I’ll be following him even more this next year. Also, I’ve chatted with him some on Facebook and he’s a very gracious conversationalist.

8. Splashdown Books – This small independent publisher is definitely making a “splash” on the small press scene. As a¬†publisher of Speculative Fiction with Christian perspectives, founder Grace Bridges from New Zealand talks about the themes of the novels she publishes as well as other thoughts and topics associated with the emerging genre of Christian Speculative Fiction.

9. Greg Mitchell – Much like Mike Duran, this fellow seems to have a decent story put together that combines the two areas I want to see more of. I hope he does well. I’ll be following his progress. The Strange Man hits bookstores’ shelves¬†in February.

And what about 10?

Well, 10 will be that one that surprises me as I get into the first couple of months of the next year. It will be the one that I either had never heard of before, or will have considered for this list but didn’t think¬†would be as “must read” as the rest I’ve mentioned¬†and then it suddenly pops out as a winner. Number 10 is a mystery now, but before too long, I’m sure that it will reveal itself.

I hope you have found some new blogs to follow because of this list. Feel free to comment and link below to any blogs you like to follow.

Dragon*Con

The annual madness that hits downtown Atlanta major hotels and surrounding area for a full four day weekend in the late Summer/early Fall. For years I had meant to attend, and now for two years I have been able to do that. In 2009 I went down by myself for the whole weekend and had a blast being able to meet folks such as John Schneider, Dwight Schultz, Lou Ferrigno, Kevin J. Anderson, Timothy Zahn, Michael Stackpole, Peter Mayhew, Patrick Stewart, Peter David¬†and many, many others. I had such a good time that for 2010 I thought it would be nice to take the family down. My wife wasn’t too sure about going for the whole weekend, so we made a day trip out of this one for Friday which is the first day of the con. We had such a great time as a family that she wants us to book a room for next year so we can stay the whole weekend.

During the day we were there, I made sure that I wanted to make sure I made my way to the Walk of Fame at least once. Once there, I got to see a lot of actors as I did the previous year, but what surprised me was the turnout of Star Trek actors. John DeLancie, Denise Crosby, Rene Auberjonois, Marina Sirtis, Jonathan Frakes, Armin Shimerman, Garrett Wang (who actually headed up the Star Trek part of the con this year), and many others. A few I got to talk with and shake their hands, and most were quite nice although one of the few I just mentioned was a little standoffish, but he may have just been having a long day of it. But that’s not who I want to talk about today.

The one I want to talk about today is a man named Brent Spiner. For those who for some reason are not familiar with Star Trek, he played the android¬†Lt. Cmdr. Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation for seven years and in four feature films after the television series was over with. For some people, this is all they know him as, but he’s been in quite a number of other roles before and after Star Trek, such as guest shots on series such as Night Court and Hill Street Blues and later in films such as Independence Day and Dude, Where’s My Car?, and these are just scratching the surface.

I want to say that my experience talking with Brent Spiner was a pleasurable one even though I was overwhelmed seeing all these Star Trek stars (I grew up on the classic Star Trek reruns and first run episodes of the spin off series such as Brent took part in), so I probably came off more goofy and word stumbly than I normally would. We talked about his role as Data and a few of the other things I had seen him in, but I did notice something that really got to me when I told him about a short story I had written.

I mentioned to him about how I had written this Star Trek short story a few years back that¬†I had no idea what to do with as Star Trek is property of Paramount and all, and I thought he might be interested in seeing it since it featured Data the character he had played and I offered to send it to him by e-mail. He sat back and used his hands for expression as he informed me that after seven seasons on the show and four feature films portraying the charater of Data that events such as Dragon*Con were as close to Star Trek as he wanted to be and that he really wasn’t interested in seeing it.

Now don’t take that the wrong way. He was very nice about it and wasn’t rude at all. I believe he was being quite sincere and had no intention of just simply brushing me off. Indeed, by him explaining that, I got the distinct impression¬†that he wasn’t simply brushing me off at all just because he didn’t have to say that. He could have just given me an e-mail address to send it to and then ignored it when it went to him. But his response got me to thinking about something.

One has to wonder what kind of toll this sort of fame has to take on these people. And by “these people” I’m primarily talking about the actors from Star Trek, although other popular speculative TV and movie series could be true as well. I remember when I was growing up and getting all into Star Trek, one of the things I did was read about the history of the show and what occurred with the actors. And by “the show”, I mean the classic original Star Trek that starred William Shatner and¬†Leonard Nimoy.

Leonard Nimoy was being called “Spock” everywhere he went so much that he had to write a book entitled “I Am Not Spock”. Later once he got used to the notoriety a bit more and relaxed more into the role with feature films and a reprisal of¬†Spock on an episode of The Next Generation he wrote a book called “I Am Spock”, but that was much later. He even reprised the role one last time as a much older version in the recent reboot feature film simply called “Star Trek” that featured Zachary¬†Quinto taking over the role of the much younger Spock.

William Shatner is well known for when Star Trek conventions first took place and his apparent rudeness and lack of grace¬†when fans approached him about minutiae that he had forgotten about. Shatner said later that he just didn’t get it. He played the role of Kirk but wasn’t a fan of the series. Later on, he got into it so much as a fan¬†that when he played his final portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk in the film Star Trek Generations where Kirk dies, he was already writing novels in the Star Trek franchise that had Kirk surviving that “death” and has had many novels come out in sets of trilogies with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens helping him with them. He typically teams Kirk up with Picard in some¬†fashion or another¬†which he knows is a real fan pleaser.

So if the original crew of the first Star Trek series felt that way, indeed, how must the actors that portrayed the characters of the various spin-off series feel? They must be quite overwhelmed with it all as they move on with their lives in other projects as they keep getting called back for conventions to greet fans and what not. I know that when Brent Spiner was telling me how things like Dragon*Con were as close to Star Trek as he wants to be even though he was being quite nice about it I could hear in his voice the seriousness of what he was saying. As I’ve only met him once and don’t know him personally, so I cannot say anything with definitiveness, I’ll just say that chances are he’s much like how Shatner and Nimoy were when they thought they were done with Star Trek in the 70’s and even when they started making feature films later on before they relaxed with it. They just saw it as them doing their job of acting and had no idea how it came across to the fans that had watched them even though they had enjoyed playing¬†their characters.

Now although I had known Brent had been in other roles onscreen (such as Night Court or Independence Day), until I came across his official site http://www.therealbrentspiner.com¬†I was unaware of his musical and singing talents, although in retrospect it makes sense as he did get to use them in the rare episode of Trek. He’s got an album available that looks like something I just might get a copy of called Dreamland.

The lesson here for all of us is two-fold:

For us as fans, we need to really treat these people that portray the characters we enjoy as the people they are and not the characters they portray and realize that they have lives outside of those characters. If you come up to them on the street or at a convention and geek out on them, they probably aren’t going to know what you’re talking about and will not likely be enjoying the encounter too much unless they just happen to be familiar enough with what you’re talking about and are a fan enough their own selves.

For the actors that portray the characters, even if you aren’t “getting it” yet, or you are in¬†that you know there are fans but you¬†just aren’t a fan and simply saw it as a job you were doing, be as kind and gracious as you can with the fans that approach you. They may not fully understand, or even have yet to realize, that you’ve done things outside of that character, but if you’re nice to them they just might decide to look you up on the Internet as I did with Brent and find out some of the other things you either have done or are doing and get into them as well.

So even though I got to talk with several famous people that day and had a couple of more encounters that got me thinking, my meeting with Brent Spiner was the main one that got me to pause and think about things even this morning as I looked back on that weekend a couple of months ago to the point where I wrote this blog entry and posted it this afternoon.

I wish him well in his future pursuits, and if you would, go by his website and check out the other things he has done if the main thing you know him from is Star Trek. And if you happen to run into him at a convention or on the street, be sure to mention some of those other things he’s involved in¬†as he’d probably appreciate it. And if you happen to also mention that you liked him as Data, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind hearing that too, just remember that he does other things and try not to focus just on that. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it if you show interest in him as a person rather than just the character he portrayed.

Indeed, I think this would be a good way to go in regards to most actors and famous people you meet and not just Brent Spiner.

Hi, here’s my first video blog. Sorry for the way the natural lighting dims near the end, and when the artificial lighting just goes out on me for a second there.

I’ve had to shut the store website of Beyond the Charts down for the foreseeable future. It will be back up after I’ve had a chance to do some things with it. Most are minor things, with only one major thing in mind. The look will be the same unless I find something outstanding to change it to that is not outrageously priced. Occasionally during this time I may put up temporary pages for special deals that will be available only for a limited time. It is my hope that once I have Beyond the Charts back up that it will be the online experience I was intending it to be when I launched it October of last year. I’m sorry if this disappoints anyone, as my time battling the shopping cart system I originally installed wasn’t what I was after when I started this and has greatly disappointed me too.

You can still come here to The Blog of The Lost Journeyman to keep track of what’s going on with Beyond the Charts, as well as The Wasteland forum and discuss the various topics that generate there. If you’re registered at the forum, then you are automatically on the newsletter list. If you haven’t registered there and you want to be on the newsletter, either register there or send me an e-mail at newsletter@beyondthecharts.com

Rest assured that Beyond the Charts has not gone away entirely, and that the best is yet to come!

Be encouraged,

David James
Founder – Beyond the Charts
Independent Marketer – The Trump Network
Member – The New Authors Fellowship

We go online and find the world at our fingertips. Friends we haven’t seen in years we’re suddenly chatting with as if we had never parted, new friends we’ve not met in person at all that we suddenly have deep feelings for emerge from the ether of the massive Internet. Social Networks help in this, yet with the various Networks, they also hinder as well.

For the first few years I knew about MySpace all I ever heard about it was how these kids were going on there and how predators looking for kids would take advantage of this so I figured if it was something geared for kids I didn’t want to be there needing a more mature site to find peers. But then I found out all these businesses are doing it and when I was trying to find a way to generate a buzz about what I was working on with Beyond the Charts I was told by a friend I should set up a MySpace account. So I did. And I got sent Friend requests, was suggested Friends and eventually I started making Friend requests myself. It took a little getting used to, but I discovered I liked MySpace and what I could do with it.

Then a person who I met on MySpace and who mentored me for a few months to help me launch the Beyond the Charts website told me I needed to get on other Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter. Because of my time on MySpace I had heard about these, but with Twitter I thought it was something to do with the phone. I found out they had a website to access. So I joined Twitter. After doing that for a while, I joined Facebook. All I wanted to do was set up a page for my Beyond the Charts business. I got the Fan page set up, but whenever I logged in again, I found out that Facebook was FORCING me to create a personal account. So I wound up using my personal account more than my Fan page because more people were responding to that. At first when I got on, Facebook was so different than MySpace and Twitter, it really took some getting used to, but around December of last year I really started getting into it and finding my way around and eventually my log ons to MySpace grew more and more infrequent.

In time, I discovered that Facebook actually has a limit on the amount of Friends you can have. Can you believe it? You can only have 5,000 friends on there. MySpace doesn’t limit you. Indeed, on MySpace I’ve seen some celebrities with over a million Friends. Obviously they can’t be all real “Friends” as I doubt the celebrity really cares about anything but the numbers and a select few strangers that may grab their attention, yet the limit for Facebook isn’t found at MySpace. I suppose Facebook figures you can only be Friends with so many people. Yet on the Fan pages, you can have as many “Fans” as you can get. I like the Fan page concept for businesses and celebrities, but why force people to create a Fan page for themselves just because they are getting too many Friends than the people at Facebook think you should have? Nevertheless, Facebook suggests Friends to you all the time that you have never met and don’t particularly care for. I suppose they want you to fill up that quota mighty fast, eh?

So then one day not too long ago I was chatting with someone, and I had a few chat sessions going, and all of a sudden I was blocked from chat with a warning I didn’t think to copy and paste at the time. It told me that basically I was engaging in behavior that some might consider abusive or annoying. Can you believe that? I’m chatting with a few friends and someone’s going to find that “annoying”? I mean, like who the hell is going to know about it? And if they find it annoying, then who cares? I won’t chat with them then. Total lunacy. After a couple of days I decided to try chatting again (I had been told this block could last for a few minutes up to a few days), and I was able to chat again when I tried. Okay, fine. I’ll watch how many chat sessions I have going on at the same time from now on. Stupid Facebook.

And of course, it doesn’t help that they keep changing things on there all the time forcing you to get used to some new tweak they want to add that causes confusion.

Now, yesterday, I was on Facebook and I discovered a person’s page because a Friend had commented on it. I saw the last name and the location and wondered if they were related to someone I knew. Turns out it was the son of that person I knew. So I sent a Friend request to both. From the dad I found a few more people I knew and sent requests to them as well. Then a couple of them had a plethora of people I knew (as one was the pastor to a church I attended for a couple of years), and so I just took the time to see about adding the people I knew that they knew too. Then all of a sudden, I get this message:

(- I took the time to copy and paste this time! ūüėČ -)

Block! You are engaging in behavior that may be considered annoying or abusive by other users.

You have been blocked from adding friends because you repeatedly misused this feature. This block will last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. When you are allowed to reuse this feature, please proceed with caution. Further misuse may result in your account being permanently disabled. For further information, please visit our FAQ page.

Okay, so like the whole main point of these social networks is so you can stay connected and get reconnected with Friends and Family, right? I know they’ve turned into something else through the use of them, but that’s the point, right? So why is it that one of the most popular ones out there is so brain dead in the corporate department that they first have to limit the number of people you can be connected to, and then on top of that decide that if you come upon some people that just happen to know a lot of people you know that when you start adding Friends, something must be wrong?

Total lunacy! This is first a company started in the United States of America where we are supposed to have Freedom to begin with, and second it’s the Internet where pretty much anything can happen (whether you like it or not), and this company Facebook wants to try to control its users like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union’s KGB?

Here I am just coming out of my shell over the last year in regards to Social Networking online, and this company is more for regress and keeping folks from moving forward than it is for progress and helping people connect with others?

I’m going to see just how long this Block lasts and I’m going to keep trying to get in touch with someone at Facebook, meantime, my use of Facebook is about to go down considerably I think. I may just have to go back to MySpace more often where there are no limits on the amount of Friends you can have and where one night when I discovered a Friend that knew some Friends who knew some Friends, I wasn’t limited on adding them there or told I was “blocked” for some sort of suspicious abuse.

Facebook has shown its Face all right. Totalitarianism.

I’ll have to see how long I remain on Facebook at this point.

Whew!

Be encouraged,

David James
Founder – Beyond the Charts
Independent Marketer – The Trump Network
Member – The New Authors Fellowship