Archive for September, 2014

Mermaids

A couple of years ago Desiree Lee and I dropped our TV service in favor of Netflix. So, if a show isn’t on Netflix, and we don’t see advertising for it somewhere else, things that would be of interest to us slip by us once in a while. This is the case with the Animal Planet show “Mermaids“. Fiction or not, it got us both to doing a lot of thinking – both in general terms, and along the lines of projects she and I are currently writing individually. This thinking has spurred this post – and the idea for a possible new, non-fiction, project.

Has anyone out there reading this post has a sighting of a creature or being they would classify as a mer-creature? I hesitate to simply say “mermaid”, because that would only indicate the female of such a species. “Merman” would only indicate the male of such a species. So, I’ll say “merfolk” for the duration of this post. And any others I post here in the future on this topic. If you have had such a sighting, please get in touch with me via the “Contact” page on my website. I’d be very interested in hearing from you. Please don’t waste my time, or your own, with jokes. I’m not interested. This request is for serious eye-witness sightings. If I get enough of a response to this post, I’ll talk more about the potential non-fiction project I have in mind. If not, I won’t bother due to perceived lack of interest.

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

More Tom Smith

Not too long ago I posted an entry on this blog regarding the very talented musician Tom Smith. In that post, I talked a bit about how I’d messaged him in the hopes of hearing back from him regarding a project I wanted to speak with him about. Well, guess what? It worked. Mr. Smith was kind enough to reply to me. We’ve exchanged a couple of messages regarding the project I have in mind. Nothing is set in the proverbial stone. But this is a start. Thank you, Mr. Smith, for taking the time to get in touch, and for your interest in what I have in mind.

For those of you not familiar with Tom Smith’s work, I highly recommend that you remedy that as soon as you can.Mr. Smith is a musical genius. His talents run across a very wide array of musical styles and genres. Want to know just how unique Tom Smith’s work is? The man once wrote a polka song about the Illuminati! I can’t think of anyone else who’s done that. So, please do yourselves a favor, and check out Mr. Smith’s work. He can be found at these URLs:

http://tomsmith.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/tomsmithonline

https://www.facebook.com/filkertom

Again, please check out his work. You won’t be disappointed!

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Congratulations, Desirée Lee!

As you all know, I’m very happily married to bestselling paranormal author Desirée Lee. Now, make that bestselling, award-winning paranormal author Desirée Lee. Yesterday evening, she learned that a recent short story submission she made to an upcoming anthology called “Tasteful Murders” will not only be appearing in the collected volume, but was also awarded a first-place prize. Her submission is titled “The Catered Affair”. As is everything else Desirée writes, this is brilliant! The premise of this piece alone gave me chills when she first told me the idea for it.

A_Catered_Affair

Please drop by Desirée’s website, and congratulate her on the award. I’m sure it would means a lot to her. Her other works that are currently still available can be found on her Amazon Author Page. Please check those out, too. She’s a fantastic writer, and very, very deserving of her ever-increasing readership and fan base.

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Umbral Press Needs You!

Attention other authors and editors out there! Umbral Press needs you! Umbral Press is the publishing company co-owned by Desiree Lee and myself.

Prior to now, we have only been publishing on an invitation-only basis. Not any more! Umbral Press is now open to outside submissions! Please use the link above, and visit the “Submissions” section of the page for our submission guidelines. We enforce these. So, please, if you submit anything to us, follow those rules. If not, you’re only wasting your time, and ours. And, if you’re anywhere near as busy as we are, you don’t have any time to waste.

Editors, please also use the above link for Umbral Press, and see the “Contact” page of the site. True, we haven’t put much information up for editors yet. But if you’re interested, please use the e-mail address provided on that page to send us a message.

Again, we’re looking for authors – previously unpublished, newly published, or those with tons of published material to their names. It doesn’t matter, as long as you write the genres that Umbral Press publishes.

Editors, we need you, too, so please get in touch!

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Models And Photographs

In the past, I have been approached by photographers and photography models about doing photo shoots in which one or more of my books is used as a prop. I love that idea! So, if anyone reading this is a photographer – amateur or otherwise – or a photography model – again, amateur or otherwise – and would like to use one of more of my books as a prop in the shoot, please do so. All I ask in such a case is that you send me copies of any photos in which my book(s) appear so that I can share them on my website and blog. Consider it a form of mutual promotion.

For those of you who might not have seen all of my book covers, here they are, in order of publication for those still available. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times recently, four of my books are no longer available. Hopefully they will again eventually.

I’ll even take the time for a bit of blatant sales promo, and turn each image into a link to that book’s listing on Amazon.com in this post to make it easy for anyone who would care to buy a copy – for use in photography shoots, or just to read.

“Winter’s Rite”

Winters Rite Cover_02

“Well Wishes”

Well Wishes Cover_HUGE

“Gauntlet”

Gauntlet Cover

“Quintana Roo, Yucatan” – This one is an award-winning, bestseller.

Quintana_Roo_Yucatan_Cover

Those are the current paperbacks. Since I’m posting sales links here in this post, too, I’ll also include “Quagmire Fen”. It’s only available in e-book. So, you won’t be able to photograph, or pose, with a paperback in this case. Still, if someone wanted to pose with, or photograph, the cover image on the screen…

“Quagmire Fen”

quagmirefen_Cover

That’s it – all of my currently available books. Have fun with them, and enjoy!

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Amazon Author Page

I’ve posted this on my site and WordPress blog before. But, it’s been a while.

Frequently, I’m asked if one or another of my books is available via Amazon.com. The answer? Yes, it is. Here’s the link for my Amazon Author Page. Any of my currently available books are there. It’s one-stop shopping for anyone wishing to stock up on my books.

As stated above, all of my currently available books are listed there. “Predators or Prey?”, “Necromancer”, “Vindicated” (those three being the previously published Wendy Markland novels), and “Shadow Castes: Book 1 – Aspects” aren’t supposed to be there. If you see a listing for any of those titles, someone, somewhere, has made a mistake. My hope is to get those four books re-edited, and released via a different publishing house. If and when that happens, they will, without a doubt, be available on Amazon again. That will also open the door for me to continue the Wendy Markland series, and release the other two-thirds of the “Shadow Castes” trilogy.

So, please visit my Amazon Author Page using the link given above. Have fun shopping, and have fun reading. Enjoy!

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Netflix Originals?

As Desiree Lee and I are foraying more and more into screenwriting, we’re wanting to get film projects made. Funding is always an on-going problem. In the past, I’ve tried crowd-funding sites. Each time I’ve tried has been a complete, and total failure – not one cent donated. I’ve no idea how some people manage to entice others to donate to their projects through such sites. They must have a far better network of contacts than we do! Social network sites, and peoples’ friends on those sites, seem to be the key to successful crowd-funding campaigns.

Netflix began doing Netflix Original Series not too long ago. I’ve wondered what it takes to get them to finance a project – television series, or otherwise. I’ve looked on-line more than once. As yet, I’ve not found an answer. Does anyone reading this blog post know? If so, please contact me via the “Contact” page of my website, and let me know. There must be a way of contacting Netflix for project pitches.

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Youngsters

When I was a child I used to watch “Sesame Street” every chance I had. Those who know me know that Oscar the Grouch always has been – and most likely always will be – my favorite “Sesame Street” character. My wife’s – the very talented bestselling paranormal author Desiree Lee – favorite character on the show is the Count. Both of these characters have been on the show for decades. We have a year-old daughter. She now watch’s “Sesame Street”. It’s a bit surreal to me, still, to see my own child watching episodes of a TV show that my wife and I grew up with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that something as innocent and educational as “Sesame Street” has such incredible staying power. It’s still strange for me, though, to see my own child watching a show that I was watching at her age. Her favorite characters are Elmo and Abby. Abby I typically don’t mind, though she can get on my nerves a bit at times. Elmo, though, I just find obnoxious. Not as much so as another character I won’t even bother mentioning here, but still… Anyway, those two – Abby and Elmo – are usually the characters who grab her attention.

A couple of years ago – well before our daughter was born – my wife and I dropped our satellite dish service. Since then we’ve been relying on Netflix and network websites to keep up with our shows. Netflix has a small selection of “Sesame Street” episodes from recent years. Our daughter had gone through all of those. We’ve started her off on the small group of old episodes that Netflix offers as “Sesame Street Classics”. The first couple of those that our daughter watched were from 1974. The collection then skips ahead a decade to 1984 from one episode to the next.

Watching “Sesame Street” episodes from the 1970s and 1980s with our daughter, we’ve noticed something. Our child pays far closer attention to the classic episodes, despite them lacking Elmo and Abby, than she does to the newer ones. The more recent episodes are brighter, and far more colorful than the classic episodes. Yet the older ones grab and hold her attention far better.

Why?

We started paying closer attention, too, and noticing the changes between the classic episodes, and the newer ones. Although the newer episodes are more vibrant, the classic episodes featured more children – more young people, laughing, singing, playing, and just generally having fun. One adult character on the show who’s no longer there – Bob – would sing songs to the children about how great, and wonderful, and smart they are. That’s all gone in the newer episodes, judging from the ones we’ve seen with our child. The animation in the classic episodes was hand-drawn. Some of it was sketchy, and jumpy, but it was hand-drawn. The animation in the newer episodes we’ve seen has all been CGI. Most of that has been designed to either look like animated clay figures, or something very close to the actual Muppet look of the puppet characters.

As I’m writing this, I’ve not taken the time to research anything I’m about to ask, or say. This is all off the top of my head, stream of consciousness type of thing. Scared yet? As Yoda said, “You will be… You will be…”

How many children are in school these days that struggle to read, write, do basic math, and other simple academic things? How many of those children, even high school students, watch, or watched, “Sesame Street”? Were they watching the old, classic, episodes? Or were they watching the new ones?

From what Desiree and I have seen, “Sesame Street” isn’t the educational tool that it once was. Now, it mostly seems to be all about marketing. Elmo and Abby are popular? Give them tons of screen-time, so that children will beg their parents to buy Abby and Elmo plush figures, and other officially licensed “Sesame Street” toys. Elmo and Abby seem to dominate the show in recent episodes. Most of the teaching aspects of the show seems to have been tossed aside to make room for subtle marketing ploys.

How many struggling school children watched “Sesame Street” in recent years, their parents plopping them in front of the TV set, thinking they were helping their children with an educational “head start”, only to have those children learn little to nothing from the show? How many of us grew up watching the classic “Sesame Street” episodes, and actually learned a lot that we took with us into our academic careers throughout school? Has any sort of study on this connection ever been done? If so, I’d very much like to see the results. If not, I’d very much like for someone to undertake that study.

Personally, I would love to see a return to the smarter, classic “Sesame Street” for children. I’d also love to see “3-2-1 Contact” and “The Electric Company” back on the air, too. Growing up, I loved those shows! So did Desiree. Now, even the so-called “educational” programming seems to be more about making money, than actually imparting knowledge to young children.

What does everyone else think of this matter?

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Return

Over this past weekend, Desiree Lee and I – and our daughter – went down to Willow Creek, California for their annual Bigfoot Days Festival. We had a lot of fun, although the festival wasn’t at all what we had expected. We were anticipating something more along the lines of a street fair. We knew there would be a parade. The festival kicked off with a parade. After that, it was a bunch of vendors set up in the local park – very few on whom had any sasquatch-themed merchandise.

For me, the highlight of Willow Creek was most definitely the Willow Creek-China Flats Museum. Their “Bigfoot Collection” was something I’ve waited most of my life to see. Being there was a sort of pilgrimage for me. The history in that room was overwhelming. They cover modern sasquatch research from the footprints that spurred the media to coin the term “Bigfoot” – a term I very seriously don’t like – up to present day. They even have one of Roger Patterson’s original casts from the site of the Patterson-Gimlin film footage. If you watch the footage linked to this post, please keep in mind that the original film has been copied over and over, and dubbed on VHS over and over, and, now, digitized over and over. The original footage shot by Roger Patterson was far clearer. Seeing copies made of other footprint evidence that has made a mark in this area of research over the years was great. But seeing one of the original Patterson film site casts firsthand left me in awe. For those who aren’t aware of my own personal history with sasquatch, you can read that here if you like. Those events turned sasquatch into a life-long area of interest for me.

Also, while in the museum, we bought a copy of a book I never thought I’d even see – much less own. We snagged a copy of the legendary book “Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us” by John Green. The book was out of print was a long time. Used copies of it that I’d found listings for were outrageously expensive. Imagine my surprise to find a re-release edition in the museum, and to spot it soon as I walked through the door!

While in Willow Creek, we stayed at the Coho Cottages. We were in the Tao House, if anyone reading this would care to stay in the same place as two bestselling authors. The Coho Cottages was a great place. It, like the rest of Willow Creek, is surrounded by forested mountains. It’s a very peaceful setting. If we ever find ourselves in that area again, we plan on staying at Coho Cottages again. Thank you, Londa and Marc Rowley, for the pleasant stay at your cottages!

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Thanks For Your Patience

For those fans and readers who are with me solely for my novels, I want to take a moment to thank you for your patience. Lately, I’ve been devoting far, far more time to work on comic book and film projects than I have been devoting to novels. “MoonWraith” is ongoing. Due to that, I need to keep up with my part on it to ensure that a new page is up each and every Monday. “Confluence“, having been launched, need to continue. It will be released bimonthly. That gives me time to work on other things between issues of it, but I still need to make sure my part of each issue of it gets done on time. I’m also working on some screenplay projects. A potential Executive Producer is going over material for “MoonWraith” to decide if he’s interested in adapting the webcomic as a film, or as its originally-intended television series concept. I’m also embarking on a new screenplay project with someone else. See several of my recent posts for what little I’m able and willing to say about that project at the moment.

Still, I am a novelist. I haven’t forgotten that – or those fans who are with me only for my novels. Several novels are in various stages of completion right now. Desiree Lee and I are currently coauthoring several things at once. Not all of those books are fiction. Please keep checking back for information and updates on those as we get closer to publication on them. If and when the four books of mine that are no longer available are re-edited and re-released under a different publishing house, then I’ll be continuing with those series, too. Ideas are also bouncing around for sequels to my award-winning, bestselling novel “Quintana Roo, Yucatan“, and my critically-acclaimed novella “Quagmire Fen“.

Much as I’d like to be working on everything at once, there simply isn’t time. And, besides work, I have a wife and a 13-month-old child. Our daughter alone is a full-time job! Rest assured, though, that I haven’t forgotten that I’m a novelist. Thank you all again for your on-going patience during this stretch between books. There will be more novels – many, many more, I hope. It’s just a matter of time.

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

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