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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Post w/ Mark McKenna + Giveaway

Today we have Mark McKenna, author of The Word Gang. Please give him a very warm welcome as he is here today to talk about some quite interesting protocols! And while he's here, he's also giving away a copy of his book! Don't forget to check it out!

Action Protocols

I love action thrillers. They’ve always been a guilty pleasure and a fun one. The trailer for Ghost Protocol has just been released and watching it I found myself thinking, “Haven’t I seen this all before?” (The answer is yes, of course.) But it made me start thinking about the rules of action/thrillers—which are odd, but also oddly consistent. For example:

What do you do if someone is shooting at you with an assault rifle?


It’s a well-known fact that you can’t hit a person doing cartwheels. You say, “But what if the bad guys are shooting 2,400 rounds a second?”

Hey! They’re cartwheels! The hero won’t even need a Band-Aid.

What do you do if something blows up?

Run really fast.

Heroes can outrun any explosion. The proof is in the slow motion photography which proves how fast they are running by showing every bit of debris and shrapnel flying slowly and harmlessly by. Heroes can also outrun cars, ravenous beasts and tornados. The secret is having top, or near-top, billing. If you’re buried in the credits, forget it. You’re toast. You couldn’t outrun my grandmother.

What do you do if you come to a cave?

Simply gather any truck lying around, whip a cord around it and voilĂ —you have a torch that will burn for hours.

Warning: This torch will start to flicker as soon as any maniac enters the cave. It will go out when they’re standing right behind you. (Or you’ll drop it down a well.) It’s a move torch. That’s what they do.

What happens if there is a briefcase?

If the briefcase is closed and unattended, it will blow up. If opened, it will be full of money. If it’s a ransom movie, the money will be fake. There will be a tracking device. If the briefcase doesn’t have money in it, or blow up, leave the theater immediately. You went to a documentary by mistake.

What if there is a kid in the movie?

The kid will get kidnapped and the hero has to save them. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.

Note: In some movies kids ARE the hero. This is usually the annoying type of kid you would happily send to reform school. But in a thriller this is overlooked if they can do cartwheels and outrun explosions. Or out-think evil adults, which is surprisingly easier than it sounds.

What happens if the world is threatened with destruction?

Forget global warming, it’s guys with eye patches and bad attitudes we have to watch out for. Don’t ask questions like, “Why do they want to destroy the world? Don’t they know they’re in it?” (They don’t.) But their motivations can remain opaque to the hero—he or she just has to blow them up in the end.

Note: If the viewer doesn’t actually see them get blown up, they’ll be back in a sequel—missing a hand and madder than ever.

So these are a few of my favorite action/thriller memes. I didn’t do horror (face worms, exploding heads, aging 1000 years in ten seconds) or romantic comedies…

I left them for you! Comments, anyone?

* * *

Mark McKenna has written a young adult novel called The Word Gang. It’s about three kids in school who start using big words to be disruptive. There are no explosions or cartwheels in his book. Maybe in the sequel?

Note: The Word Gang website no longer works with Internet Explorer. No one knows why. Use Opera, Firefox, or anything else.

Giveaway Details:
Runs from now until Feb. 2nd.
Ages 13+
Open to US only
Winner must respond within 48 hours


  1. Haha, I love it! I have to remember the cartwheels..

  2. Zig-zagging! zig-zagging!

    Easier than cartwheels, just as invulnerable to 700 rounds per minute of automatic weapons fire!

  3. That was hilarious. XD Great job!

    Also, at the climax of the movie where everything is going to go horribly wrong if the main character doesn't do something right that minute... he ends up kissing someone.

    And of course the girl in the movie who looks like a supermodel but probably couldn't hurt anyone bigger than she is ends up being the toughest character in the movie.

  4. I love it!!

    And also right after they have a big things-blowing-up scene the hero kisses someone who generally dies in the fight.

  5. Excellent! Don't forget the dog that runs back into the building just before it explodes, only to emerge unscathed.

  6. This was a very fun interview. Cartwheels seem to be a very good method at avoiding bullets. :)

    1. Oh and since the doc isn't working my email is

  7. This book sounds very interesting. Please enter me in contest.

  8. I want to enter the giveaway, but the link doesn't work.

  9. I would like to enter the giveaway, but the link isn't working! my email is

  10. Hi Everyone,

    I'm really enjoying your comments. I contacted 'Uniquely Moi' about the giveaway link. You will be included in the drawing.

    Thanks, Mark

  11. Problem fixed. It was working so I'm not quite sure why it quit. Sorry everyone!


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