So I’ve been on Patreon for almost two full months now, and I think it’s going well. If you haven’t been part of it, you’re missing out on some excellent content, if I do say so myself. If you want to read my reviews of TV shows and movies, if you want to see excerpts from my upcoming work, if you want to read chapters/stories as I finish them, if you want to read vignettes featuring my original characters, if you want to be my convention buddy, this is the way to do it.
Here’s what I’ve posted up there so far, and what you’ve missed out on by not supporting me, divided by pledge amount……
$1/month and up: At this level, you get one movie review per month, which is a pretty good deal. In December, I reviewed Star Wars: The Last Jedi. An excerpt:
People in this movie try to be heroes, and they’re the ones who fail at it (Poe, Kylo). People who don’t want to be heroes anymore are forced back into it (Luke, Finn). And people who don’t look for heroism and don’t consider themselves heroes wind up being the most heroic (BB-8, Holdo). And those who seek to be better heroes get hard lessons in how incredibly difficult that is (Rey, Paige).
I have to admit to particularly liking the fact that Poe, Finn, and Rose’s batshit crazy plan to turn off the tracking system on Hux’s ship was such a complete and total failure. In fact, that very plan was what led to half the transports going to Crait getting destroyed. So many times in fiction the scrappy characters who decide to go their own way without approval from the bosses turn out triumphant, and it’s tired and stupid and dangerous.
Because Holdo was absolutely right. She did have a plan, but all she knew about Poe was that he was a recently demoted jackass who got a lot of people killed. She had no reason to read him in on the plan, and he should have followed the chain of command. But he didn’t, and because of it, a lot more people died—for the second time in a row, as his previous disobeying of orders to do something crazy resulted in all their bombers being destroyed.
In January (just today, in fact), I reviewed Proud Mary. Another excerpt:
This is not to say that Proud Mary is a great movie—it isn’t. It’s fun, [Taraji P.] Henson and [Danny] Glover in particular shine, as does the great Xander Berkley as the Russian mobster whose death sets the story in motion. The plot is very straightforward and kinda manipulative, and I wish that Mary wanted to get out of the life because she wanted to stop killing people, not to be a Mom to young Danny. Having said that, the fact that she takes responsibility for what she did to Danny’s father is a step in the right direction of nobility. Besides which, the chemistry between Henson and Jahi Di’Alio Winston as Danny is simply perfection. Winston looks to have a great career ahead of him, as he nicely conveys Danny’s loneliness, smarts, and desperation. (I also like the fact that they don’t go with the obvious cliché, and have Danny know full well that his father was a piece of shit, and probably deserved to die, for all that it left the boy screwed.)
$2/month and up: At this level, you get regular cat pictures. My original thought was once a week, but the Patreon’s been up for eight weeks now, and I’ve posted 24 cat pictures, so if you’re in it for the incredible cuteness of the two friendliest black cats in creation, Kaylee and Louie, then you’re very much getting your money’s worth.
Here’s one of the cat pics, just to tease:
That’s Louie showing why we nickname him “Speed Bump.”
$5/month and up: At this level, you get a weekly TV review. Thus far, nine reviews have been posted — besides the weekly ones, I also put up an old review of Feed the Beast from 2016. My new reviews have included both reviews of new shows and looks back at old ones:
- Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (following the show’s fifth-season premiere)
- MacGyver (the new reboot on CBS, specifically of the second-season episode “War Room + Ship”)
- The Librarians (following the first four episodes of season four)
- “Twice Upon a Time,” the Doctor Who 2017 Christmas Special (which also looks back at the show’s previous Christmas Specials)
- Major Crimes (following the series finale)
- Breakout Kings (a look back at the 2011-2012 series about a unique task force in the U.S. Marshal Service)
- Black Lightning (following the first episode)
- The Alienist (also following the first episode)
Here’s an excerpt from my review of “Twice Upon a Time”:
Together, First and Twelfth Doctors find themselves renewed by an encounter with a World War I captain, and with a high-tech library computer called Testimony. Testimony reminds the Doctor that he is about helping people (as the Master stated explicitly in that great phone call in “The Sound of Drums”), that he has made the universe a better place. Best of all, though, is that the strongest metaphor is an actual historic event: the Christmas truce of 1914, when opposing sides during World War I simply stopped fighting and celebrated the holidays together. There could be no better touchstone for a Doctor Who Christmas Special than a day when a war was suspended by a holiday that celebrates peace.
(One of the best moments in the episode, by the way, is when the Doctor unthinkingly refers to the conflict the captain has come from as “World War I,” and the captain—very well played by Mark Gatiss—is rather devastated to learn that there will be another war to follow the war to end all wars.)
$7/month and up: At this level, you get weekly excerpts from my work in progress. Thus far, that has been exclusively A Furnace Sealed, the urban fantasy novel I’m trying really hard to finally finish. The first of at least three novels about a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who hunts monsters, I’ve provided this set of patrons with eight excerpts from the novel. Here’s a bit from Chapter 5 (patrons get the entire scene, not just this fragment):
“Nah, he ain’t here,” Medawe was saying. Unlike his uncle, he was born in the Bronx, so he didn’t have Ahondjon’s thick west African accent. “It’s Sunday, he’s in church. … Nah, I ain’t telling you what church. … What, you telling me you found Jesus now? Bullshit. Just gimme the message, I’ll let him know when he gets back. … I don’t know when, I ain’t found no Jesus, neither. ‘Sides, you know how he likes talking to folks. Could be hours. … Yeah, well, fuck you too.”
Shaking his head, Medawe pressed the end button on the phone.
“Another satisfied customer?”
Medawe snorted. “Yeah, somethin’ like that. What’cha need, Gold?”
“I need to talk to Ahondjon. He really in church?”
“Hell, no. Only time his ass goes into a church is to deliver their holy water.”
I blinked. “Wait, churches buy holy water from him?”
“They do if they want the shit that works.”
$10/month and up: At this level, you get a new character vignette every month featuring one of my original characters. I haven’t come up with January’s yet — I still have three days! — but December’s was a bit featuring Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet, entitled “A Windy Night in December at Mayor Fred’s Saloon.” An excerpt:
“So,” Larry said as Meredith put the pint filled with lovely amber brewed beverage in front of me, “whatcha got planned for Christmas?”
“Working. Debbie’s going home to Boston to visit her family, so I’m running the B&B while she’s gone.”
Larry shook his head. “It’s Christmas, you shouldn’t be working.”
I took a sip of the beer before answering. “First of all, the B&B’s open, and somebody’s gotta run it. Second of all, I’m still Jewish. Third of all, I’m also still a Norse fate goddess. Two ancient religious traditions I’m linked to, neither of which gives a shit about the birth of some dude in Jerusalem two thousand years ago.”
“He wasn’t ‘some dude in Jersualem,’ he was our lord and savior.”
EDITED TO ADD: After writing this post, I came up with January’s vignette — it’s a bit with the Super City Police Department called “Plea Bargain.”
$20/month and up: At this level you get a sneak peek at my first drafts. When I finish a chapter of a novel or a short story, you get to read it in all its unfiltered glory (NDAs permitting, anyhow, since some of my work is subject to those). Thus far, it’s just been one chapter of A Furnace Sealed, as the holidays and the death of my brother-in-law has put a crimp in the forward progress……
Right now only one person is at that level. Y’all are missing out!
$25/month and up: Nobody has taken advantage of this level yet, though I also haven’t actually been to a convention since I started the Patreon (I had to cancel my trip to MarsCon because of the aforementioned death in the family). But if you do sign up for this, you get live videos of my trips to conventions, and also audio from one or two of my panels. It’s almost like being there, except without having to pay for a hotel room or travel or crowds or anything!
I think you’re getting a superb value for your shekels if you sign up. Remember, each level includes everything under it — so if you go for the first-drafts at $20/month, you’re also getting the movie and TV reviews, the cat pictures, the vignettes, and the excerpts of works in progress. And in the coming week, there’ll be a new TV review, a new vignette, and more cat pics to add to the above list.