Thursday, December 20, 2012

Into the Future We Go!

The end of the year is coming up, and things are kinda crazy. In some ways, crazy-good, in others, not so much. Blogging hasn't been my top priority, and I've been slacking on my bloggable topics: no video games to rant about, and the things I can rant about, I don't want to blog.

So I'll just say to each and every one of you, I wish you Love, Peace, and Happiness. Have a good time and show some love.  I'll see you around the bend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop


Sooo…I’m it. I was tagged by Alexander Pierce, aka @redantisocial, and since we share a love of the wonderful Nanaki, I’ll play along. The last time I was, um, carefully chosen to talk about my WIP, I gushed about INSATIABLE, but today, I have a shiny new WIP to talk about.


What is the working title of your book?

LEAD ME BACK HOME. Normally, the last thing I think of is a title, and they’re usually about as tormenting to come up with as writing *ahem* a query letter. This one though, I was listening to a lot of Halestorm while I wrote it, and there was a particular song that just really made me feel the whole thing.


Where did the idea come from for your book?

I had a ragey redhead running around in my head, and I decided to let him out. Also, I was playing Dragon Age II at the time, and I was fascinated with how magic, blood magic in particular, was viewed in the world of the game. Overlaying that was this dark, broody feeling, and it all sort of meshed together.


What genre does your book fall under?

YA Supernatural. I think it fits nicely there. It’s got just a little too much magic for Magical Realism.


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I haven’t the foggiest. I never really try to picture anyone as one of my characters, but I think it’d be fun to watch the auditions.


What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

*Sigh* You had to ask that. Okay, here goes:

Both Trisha Myles and the willfully unsociable Jesse Reagan are caught in the aftermath of their shattered lives, but together, if they can overcome Jesse’s curse and need for blood magic, and Trisha can rise above her sister’s death, they might be able to find something good in all of the bad.

Um, how was that?


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope to start querying just as soon as I’ve been ripped apart by a few CPs and am comfortable with revisions. Gotta get the ol’ letter nice and polished first, though. *hides shaking hands*


How long did it take for you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six to eight months. I tend to revise as I go, and I got distracted by all the shiny contests this summer.


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Maybe Jeri Smith-Ready’s SHADE series. Though my spirits aren’t ghosts…


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My desire to write in general was inspired by awesome English teachers and Writing professors. I had more than my fair share of teachers as a construction kid. Some of them let me entertain myself by turning my vocabulary sentences into short stories.

Also, my mom. She encouraged us to read, and kept me in a supply of books as I was growing up. It’d be awesome and super fulfilling if I could spark someone’s imagination like mine was by all the books I read.


What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Hmm. It’s sort of twisted and dark. Trisha kicks ass, Jesse throws skillets, and for the romancers out there, there’s some kissing, too.

TAG!


@gypsyroots aka John Lucas Hargis, a mastermind of Phreak!

@nikkiurang aka Nikki Urang, CP extraordinaire!

@amandaburckhard aka Amanda Burckhard, excellent CP and agented!

@CareyTorg aka Carey Torgesen, I hear she has ALL THE KISSING!

@feakysnucker aka FEAKY SNUCKER T!, because I heart her and her potty mouth dearly!

 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Time and Place: Debating with (Self) Respect


The election is over. President Obama is still president. Some people are overjoyed while others are far from it. But that’s no reason to be uncivil.
I’ve seen a lot of hate in comments on articles and social media, a lot of partisan nonsense that disintegrates into ill-informed gossip, racist/religious digs, and basically shameful, childish remarks.
These comments are often posted on nonpolitical issues. Like a natural disaster. Or a child’s death.
No, people. Just no.
We live in a country where we have the right to voice our opinions. To make choices. To disagree with each other. This is a great thing.
Until we abuse it. Yes, it can be abused, and we can make ourselves look like total asses. When you make the choice to enter an argument, please, PLEASE, for the love of all that’s holy, be reasonable, be respectful, and if you feel the need to say something ill-mannered, rude, and probably stupid, then step away from the keyboard.
Sometimes we can’t stop our mouths from spouting off, I get that. However, there’s no excuse to have textual diarrhea. You have to go through the effort of writing down those thoughts, and I hope like hell you read what you write. And if you even for a second think, “You know, that sounds pretty rude,” don’t post, tweet, or publish it. Let’s not fall into the lame tropes of election campaigns. We’re all human, right?
Right.
So, the smartest thing I heard during the election campaign came from former president, Bill Clinton. He said we have to work together. Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter. Because in the end, we are the freaking United States of America. United is in our name. And while we may not agree on everything, we can agree that we love our country.
Go ahead and argue; it’s your right. Just don’t let it dissolve into a schoolyard name-calling match.
And don’t do it at the bottom of an article about a kid who lost both parents in a tornado. Not the place.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vacation Thoughts

I took a few days of vacation this week, and I discovered I needed the break more than I thought I did.

I had ALL THE PLANS to do ALL THE THINGS.

I managed to do about half of all the things, hehe. But that's okay because I did things I didn't know I needed to do. Such as listen to hours of music with the volume turned up. Or sit down and read with no distractions.

And that is where a lot of my five free days went. I finished Lia Habel's Dearly, Beloved, which was absolutely amazing, and I also finished A Storm of Swords in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin. Good stuff. Then I listened to all of my My Chemical Romance albums, A Perfect Circle, Evanescence, We Are the Fallen, Within Temptation, and so much more music.

I missed doing these things. I hadn't left myself time to just read or listen to music in such a long time, that I really, truly had come to miss them.

I also hung some Halloween decorations up, and I worked on my costume. Of course, there was writing.

Even though I didn't quite do what I planned, I still feel better for the time I took to do things I hadn't had time to do lately. But that's what a vacation is about, right?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Unsounded in Print is a GO!


About a month ago, I posted with all sorts of fangirl glee that amazing artist and world-building extraordinaire, Ashley Cope, had succumbed to the desperate pleas of her readers and had at last set up a Kickstarter page to print the first volume of Unsounded.

Shortly after that, I posted about the amazing turnout of the fans, and how, in their eagerness to get grabby hands on physical copies, they’d nearly doubled the drive goal.

Well, time is up, Kickstarter is closed, and with an astounding $43,383 pitched in by 1275 ravenous fans, Unsounded volume 1 is funded!

Funded times four, and then some!

Wow!

Ashley will have her hands full in the coming weeks fulfilling drive rewards and readying those lovely copies of Unsounded, but no doubt, they’ll be worth the wait.  Meanwhile, I’ll be watching for the progress updates, and waiting to get my grabby hands on my very own copy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

TV Rambles: CW’s Beauty and the Beast


I’m a little late to the party on this, but I’ve been busy…and I can’t make the fiancé watch everything.  So, while he was out, I picked up my DVR’d episode of the CW’s Beauty and the Beast. Now, Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales. The prince is far from charming or handsome, and psychological arguments aside, it’s a lovely tale of falling in love with someone for who they are, faults and all.

Okay, huge fan of the fairytale. Check. Absolutely loved the 80’s series with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. Yep. Thoroughly enjoyed the Disney version? You bet.

This new reincarnation, not so much.

I didn’t hate it. Honestly, if the next couple episodes pick up a little better, I’ll probably watch it. I’m not crazy about Katherine being a detective, mainly because I’m so very burnt out on cop shows, but I get it. A detective would be more likely to get in plot-inducing trouble than say, an assistant DA. I can live with it.

The premise was okay. Mom gets killed, Kat becomes a cop which leads her to evidence of a dead guy and DNA that links to her mother’s murder. All right. Of course, dead guy is our beast, the rather sexy Mr. Vincent Deller.

Wait, what? Did I say sexy?

And that, my friends, is my main problem with this show. I shouldn’t be looking at the Beast and thinking, “Oh, hey. He’s kinda hot.” He doesn’t even have that bad of an attitude. Sure he’s got a scar, but that doesn’t make him beastly, or even ugly. Some of us sort of dig scars…but that’s another topic. The brief outbursts of his temper were more HULK SMASH than anything, and when he did get down and beastly, it was against the baddies trying to take out Kat.

So, why is the Beast chock full of smolder? Should he be? Author and creator of some of my favorite zombies ever, Lia Habel, has an interesting post on that.

What do you think? Can you love a beast? Give me a shout in the comments.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meet Pete, My Office Roomie

From time to time on campus, a storm will come through and knock down trees or limbs. And sometimes, the high wind will blow down a squirrel nest.

When that happens, sometimes there are baby squirrels. 

That's how we ended up with Pete.

I took a call early one morning after a storm. The person who called was looking for someone to pick up the baby squirrel she had found near her building, and she wondered if we had an animal control person or someone who would come take it off of her hands.

I knew just the person to call. I called up my friend Jo, who was more than happy to get the little guy. She's raised several squirrels, one of which I was particularly attached to because she slept in our hoodie pockets and used our sleeves for a hammock.

Pete when he was first found. His eyes weren't even open yet.


Because she works outside and can't carry him around, I get to babysit, which thrills me to death. Baby squirrels are just so freaking cute!


Pete. Hungry fella!








Pete's getting bigger! And Squirrelly!
Climbing my arm.




Gah! The cuteness!

Pete loves his momma Jo!




 

Fan Love, Ain't it Grand? Unsounded Kickstarter Update


Last week, I posted about the Kickstarter page for Ashley Cope’s Unsounded web-comic. And in the last week, I’ve had the chance to witness fan love at work. (You can check out my post and links to the comic and the Kickstarter page here.)

Ashley set her goal at $9,800. In a week’s time, that goal has been nearly tripled. There’s 24 days to go!

I can’t help but read the comments on most things, and reading the ones on the Unsounded Kickstarter makes me hope I have fans like hers one day. They love her work, they realize and respect the time and effort she puts into making Unsounded such a great graphic novel, and they want to support her. From my comment lurking on the comic’s site, I’ve noticed it’s been the fans that have urged access to Donate buttons and pushed for the Kickstarter page. As far as I know, Ashley has never asked her fans for a thing, but to read the latest page.

Even now, there are a few wishing the top tiers weren’t all sold out just so they could give her more money.

The love of her fan base is impressive and heart-warming. Not to mention inspiring. I’m glad to be a part of it. I hope to see Unsounded take off, and wish all sorts of success on Ashley because she’s not only an amazing artist, but an excellent storyteller as well.

And she does it for the love of it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Unsounded in Print? Hell Yes!

The artwork of Unsounded. The entire comic's like this!

I’ve mentioned my love for the Unsounded web-comic once before. It’s a perfect blend of great art, excellent storytelling, and hard work that brings Ashley Cope’s characters to life. And like any great novel, I’m left thinking about the fates of her characters every time I leave the page.

Unsounded has a loyal following of readers, and gathers new ones all the time. I always take the time to read the comments section at the end of the latest page where often amongst the witty and intelligent discussions of Unsounded’s world, I will see a new comment from someone who did the same thing I did. They started at the first page and couldn’t stop.

Yeah, it’s that good.

You can check it out here.

Daughter of the Sharteshane thief-king Nary-A-Care Frummagem, fearless and loud-mouthed Sette sets out to make her pa proud. With Duane Adelier—according to Sette, the worst attack-zombie ever—she takes off to collect a debt from her cousin. Trouble seems to follow her, from ancient creatures to smugglers to Peaceguard soldiers.

You guys…Duane is an intelligent, spell-casting, zombie. How can you not love that??

So, Ashley finally let her readers pummel her into starting a Kickstarter project to get Unsounded into print form. This just makes me squiggly-excited! And because I love it so much, I’m plugging it now!

There’s a video narrated by Ashley that introduces you to her world and artwork. Give a look-see, and if you like it, think about dropping a donation in the Kickstarter bucket. Ashley’s put a lot of hard work and dedication into Unsounded. It’s time it paid off!

To check out the Kickstarter page for Unsounded, go here!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TV Rambles: My Thoughts on the Premiere of Revolution


****Contains spoilers. If you DVR’d this show, don’t let me ruin it for you.****

 

Okay, warning is made.

 

 

 

 

The world goes dark. Now how do people survive?

The premise sounded pretty awesome, and it got my fiancé’s attention. He loves the post-apocalyptic shows like Jericho, even the Luke Perry show Jeremiah, so Revolution was right up his alley.

We settled down on the couch last night, and as the show started, I was holding out hope.

It started off showing a little girl named Charlie who was too engrossed with the television to say hi to her grandma on the phone. Then her dad comes home, freaking out, downloads something to flash drive, and calls his brother. The conversation tells me he knows what’s going on. The power goes out. Now we’re getting to business.

We jump 15 years into the future. The dad-who-knows-all has helped set up a nice self-sustaining village.

And then for the rest of the show, I bit my tongue.

Let’s go back to the village. It’s a nice set up. They’ve got small crops and goats, so they’re doing all right. So why are dad-who-knows-all’s kids hunting? Oh, so the boy, Danny, can have an asthma attack so it can be used as a plot device later. Um, okay.

And here’s where the ridiculous comes in. The militia is looking for Charlie and Danny's dad. It just so happens, he passed off his very-important-flash drive to another guy in the town just before the militia shows up. He gives the men his name (why?), and when they tell him to come with him, Danny pulls out a crossbow. Now, no one had laid a hand on the dad, no one apparently knows what he had besides the militia and him, so it didn’t make sense for the scene to turn into Dodge City. And of course, stupidity ensues, dad gets shot, Danny gets taken, and his sister, Charlie, who was out sulking in an old fairground, has to come to the rescue.

The show might have still been redeemed at this point. But then they decided to do ALL THE THINGS.

Not sure where in the world they are, but the trip between their little town and Chicago to find Charlie’s badass uncle gets rushed through find a stranger, get attacked by the baddies Daddy warned her about, saved by the stranger, betrayed by the stranger. Meanwhile, Danny is doing his own escape bit, but dontcha know it, that darn asthma kicks in.

But never fear, the farmhouse is lived in by a lady who just happens to have an asthma inhaler. Oh, but she’s going to betray him, too. Why? Because she’s got one of those special flash drives, and it just so happens that little thing can power a laptop in a scene rather reminiscent of the hidden computer communications in Jericho.

As a writer, I often see advice to know where my story starts and start there. Revolution missed the mark. This episode could easily have been spread out over a couple instead of crushing everything into 45 minutes. I, personally, could have waited to discover the uncle and the power-supply flash drive.

The weapons made no sense. The bows were all modern, complex pieces of equipment that couldn’t be easily repaired if broken, and the few guns were unnecessarily old. Even the militia, except for the head henchman, lacked modern firearms. It’s been 15 years. Why the hell are they reduced to muskets and swords?

Overall, I think it tried to do too much at once. And because they did too much at once, I wasn’t buying it. If my fiancé wasn't determined to watch the next episode in hopes it gets better now the back story is done, I’d already have taken it off of the DVR schedule.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ghosts...and the Girls Who Love Them Bloghop and Giveaway

Jessa Russo {My Writing Blog}



Here's my entry into this party. If you like what you read, let me know in the comments, and if you really like it, leave the word VOTE in the comments! You can vote between now and Oct. 1st. Enjoy!


Binary
Socks dangled from the slowly rotating blades of the ceiling fan. On any other occasion, Carrie would have laughed. Not this time.She had witnessed the hurricane-like destruction Daniel had wreaked, and it was a testament to his self-control that she wasn’t hurt. He stood in the only clear spot on the floor, what had been the eye of the storm. All around him,the room was littered with debris. Glittering among the boxers and tees, change from his dresser top and splinters of mirror. His college diploma he’d gotten last week. Things he would never need.
Carrie repeated the words that had brought out his rage. “Daniel, you have to move on.”
“I promised I wouldn’t leave you. I keep my promises.” His form solidified as anger coursed through him. When it faded, he did too, until she could see through him to the curtains swaying in the breeze.
“You can’t stay. You’re gone, Danny. Please let me go.”
His eyes turned their familiar, warm brown as he stared at her. “I can’t.”
It was her fault, Carrie knew. The doctors told his parents there was nothing they could do, no way to revive the vital organs that had failed when his fever skyrocketed. As his life bled away with each soul-crushing beep, she had begged him to stay, and he’d promised her. Then the alarms had announced the end of his struggle. She had slipped away from the shrieks of grief in the waiting room to her Honda. And Daniel had been waiting for her.
She picked her way through glass and cotton until she stood in front of him. “I want a new promise then. One that will take theplace of this one.”
“I’d do anything for you.” Daniel put his transparent palm beside her cheek, and she felt his energy shift. The rest of him became nearly invisible as his hand turned solid. Carrie leaned into his palm. “Whatdo you want me to promise?”
“If there is another life after this, I will find you. If there’s only darkness, I’ll find you there, too. Whatever lies beyond death, we will share it. But until then, you have to let me go.”
“I don’t want to go without you.”
“Danny, I still have things to do.” She had another year of college, and planned to travel to Italy to study architecture. She had other dreams, too. Dreams she had thought she would share with him, but she didn’t dare remind him of that now.
He faded completely for a moment, but Carrie knew he was still with her. She felt him all around her, just like she had when he’d been warm and alive and lying next to her. When he came back, Daniel was as solid as he had been alive, his arms just as strong as he wrapped them around her. His hair tickled her cheek as he leaned forward to whisper into her ear. “No matter what lies beyond. Heaven, hell, something in between, or darkness. No matter how many years, I will wait for you.”
His fingers, callused from pressing guitar strings, lifted her chin, and his lips pressed softly to hers. Tears flowed down herface, and she wanted to beg him not to leave, but she couldn’t, not again. He had to move on. He deserved more than a poltergeist existence. “I’ll find you.”
When Carrie opened her eyes, Daniel was gone. Herchest hitched with repressed sobs as she stumbled downstairs. In the diningroom, his parents looked up from their cups of coffee, and his father asked,“Is it done?”
“Danny’s gone,” she confirmed. “I’m going now.”
“Shouldn’t you wait, Carrie? You seem a little shook up.”
“No. I’ll be fine.” They offered her coffee and breakfast, anything to keep her longer, but there was no reason for her to stay. Daniel had moved on. Politely turning down their offers, she retreated to her car and wiped the tears from her eyes. The morning would bring a new start. A plane ticket for Rome stuck out of her purse. She eased the car out of the driveway. She had packing to do.
The world exploded in sheared metal and shattered glass, but not the relative safety of air bags. Too shocked to scream, she watched the houses along the street turn over and over as the moving van rolled her Honda.
Carrie blinked and the world went dark. Had she passed out? How long? She inhaled. No pain. Moved her arm. It should hurt, right? The way she’d rolled, she was sure she must be banged up. Maybe she was pumped full of adrenaline. How long did an adrenaline rush last? Was it night time?
“It’s always night here, Carrie, baby.” Daniel materialized before her, a smile impossibly containing both joy and regret curving his lips. “It’s always night, but life’s never been more beautiful.”
“What happened? You promised, Danny. You promised you’d move on!” His smile faded, but he didn’t. He reached out to her, and Carrie realized she wasn’t in her car. Had she been thrown?
“I did move on. You found me.” He stepped back and gestured with his hand.
Carrie’s eyes widened. Webs of coral pink and purple intersected with deep gold, and deep within the nebula, she saw the birth of a pale-blue star. “Oh…”
Daniel took her hand. “Our turn.”
* * *
“Grandpa, look at this!”
The old man peeked into the telescope. “What you got there?”
“Two stars, Grandpa. My teacher says they’re binary and circle each other.”
“That’s real interesting. My old Gran, she called‘em lovers’ stars. She said stars like those were two people whose love was so great, it followed them into death, and they became stars.”
“That’s silly.”
“Hush, now. Could be true.”



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rambling of a Casual Gamer: Skyrim and Why I Love the Bows


I’m quite a ways into Skyrim now, and of all the weapons I can choose from, my favorite is the bow. I’m far enough along now that I have a Daedra bow (well, two). My enchanting is crap, but my knock-down power is excellent. The best part is I’m not even done with the Archery perks. I will get stronger!

I like the bow versus the other weapons because it’s long range. I pop enemies before they ever get a glimpse of me. And unlike some games, the Skyrim bows are nicely effective. The targeting works well. For most things, lower level arrows are fine, and since iron and steel arrows are easily obtained in battle, ammo is usually free.

Nothing makes me happier than taking down a dragon with my bow. Except maybe turning their bones and scales into my armor.

Dragonscale armor, oh yeah!
 

On a practical note, I like the bows best in Skyrim simply because they don’t mess with my line of sight like the melee weapons. I have a staff and a war-axe I carry for close-up situations, but I can’t stand to explore with them drawn. For some reason, maybe because the default setting is the right hand and I’m a lefty, the weapon on the right side of the screen distracts the crap out of me.

I know what you’re thinking. Brandi, why don’t you just equip it to your left hand every time?

Because my left hand is my magic hand?

And I’d have to remember to switch my button controls, which I WILL forget. Besides, my bow is awesome. I can suffer in-battle, right-side weapons when I have to fight close range. Which I make sure is not often.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Will Never Forget

Today is a  day to say, "I love you."

Share a smile. Shake a hand.

We will never forget September 11, 2001, but we can show we're not afraid. That the terrorists didn't win.

We will never forget. But we will overcome.

So, while you're out in your busy lives today, remember we're all Americans, love your neighbor.

I wish you peace and love.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Be Inspired Blogship Meme


So, I got tagged by Hali Baumstein for this bloggy thing where I’m supposed to talk about my current project. Luckily, since it’s a blog, you can’t see my horribly red face as I write this. (End moan.)

 

Here’s the dirt on my most recent completed project:


1.      What is the name of your book?
INSATIABLE
 
2.      Where did the idea for your book come from?

One day, my main character popped into my head and said, “Hey, I’m Charlie!” I could hear him so clearly that I had to write him down.


3.      In what genre would you classify your book?

Definitely YA contemporary fantasy. Possibly UF. While it’s full of faeries, it’s also set in a city, with cell phones and movie theaters and homework. Not fun, magical homework where if you screw up your rainbow potion explodes and paints everything multi-colored.  Math. English.


4.      If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?

I honestly have no clue. It’s not something I think about much. Maybe someone no one’s seen before? Fresh faces.


5.      Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.

When seventeen-year-old kinetic Charlie Brimm meets bard-faery and rock singer, Len, he discovers Len’s aura satisfies his hunger like never before…and her band has plans to sacrifice him.

I’m not a good one-liner…


6.      Is your book already published?

No, but who knows about the future?


7.      How long did it take to write your book?

Around six months. I was totally shocked by how focused I was on INSATIABLE. Normally, I’m a multi-project girl, but Charlie demanded all my brain-power. Of course, there’s revision times not included in that…


8.      What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?

Readers of Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series might enjoy mine. Really, anyone who likes a twist on faeries. I think, though, even if someone isn’t a big faery fan, they would enjoy it, too. If they like a little magic thrown in with their rock music, it’d be for them.


9.      Which authors inspired you to write this book?

I think everyone I’ve ever read probably. From Ursula K. LeGuin to the classics to Cassandra Clare. They all inspire me, all make me think, “what if?”

 
10.  Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.

Charlie’s an easy-going, music fiend who just happens to feed on human auras. It keeps him alive, but because his metabolism is off, doesn’t really satisfy him. But Len’s aura is special. He likes her, too, but dating a faery is a no-no. His folks aren’t too happy, to say the least.

Besides rock-singing faeries? How about malicious aura-mimickers, a creepy doctor, and a kick-ass best friend who keeps Charlie from losing it all together?


11.  Tag five people!

 
Amanda Burckhard She’s a wonderful writer and CP. And recently agented, too!

Summer Heacock She’s quite lovely and funny. Oh, yeah. TAG YOU’RE IT!

Kate Brauning Another lovely CP and writer and busy, busy woman!

Nikki Urang CP, excellent writer, and all-around wonderful person!

A certain Feaky Snucker, who will yell at you when you need it, and who tickles me to no end.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rewriting: A Pleasant Surprise


Rewriting.

I thought it would be a nightmare. Something akin to ripping my skin off. How would I possibly tear apart something I had created, something that had made my heart swell with joy once I reached the final word?

No way. I can’t destroy my precious story. Rewrite? Never.

I’m doing it now.

Driving home from work one day, a brilliant stroke of inspiration smacked me in the brain. It was undeniable, insistent. Though I hated the idea of majorly changing anything, the urge persisted. And since computers make it so easy to create a new file, I pushed my fear aside and surrendered. (Save As is my friend.)

It started as a simplification of the beginning where I finally had to admit that there was too much going on. Then, I had another thought. Wouldn’t my villain be much more interesting if…? And then another idea that made a scene work much more emotionally than it had originally.

Slowly, I’ve realized that rewriting isn’t tearing my story apart. It’s metamorphosis or evolution. It’s growth, a honed blade. The changes make my story stronger, sharper. I’m falling in love with characters all over again, and more deeply. Do I remove things? Yes. Do I add? Yes.

Am I loving it? Surprisingly so.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rambling of a Casual Gamer: Glitches Make Me Twitch

My Bosmer, Fayruz. Wood Elf, FTW!

I am 115 hours or so into Skyrim. The awesome part about that is, I’ve barely touched the main quest, and I’m not bored. My character has a dresser full of dragon bones and scales, just waiting for the moment I hit level 100 on my smithing. (I’m at 92. Soon, precious dragon armor, soon.) I am Arch Mage and Harbinger.

And I’ve only been eaten by a dragon once.

While I love all the fantastic dragon-slaying, bandit-smiting, ore-mining goodness of Skyrim, I have just one problem.

Glitches.

Most of them aren’t a big deal. The lag when I’ve played for a while is annoying, but by then it’s usually time to quit anyway. The inability to start a mission because I already have a mission at the same destination was a bit eye-twitch inducing, but I got around it, and it was fine. After I picked up a staff that was quest-oriented and it wouldn’t let me hand it over until I placed it on a weapon display…okay.

But the one that sits like a white elephant on my task list and makes my skin crawl with unfulfilled completion frustration?

Find a copy of THE WOLF QUEEN v.6.

TWITCH!

I picked the book up during the progress of another quest. Because, you know, I have to collect all of the books. I had no idea it would be part of a quest—until I tried to put it on a bookshelf. Before this, I hadn’t experienced this particular Quest Item F.U. glitch. And because I’m playing on a game console (PS3), there is no freaking way to drop it. Can’t go through the motions of the hunt and pretend, either. So the book sits there like an ugly wart in my inventory, mocking me with its immovable presence.

I’ve had load failures that were less irritating.
Don’t get me wrong. I love this game. Obviously, or I wouldn’t have devoted so much time to it. And I know glitches in something so elaborate are inevitable. But I hope that Bethesda will in the future will do one thing: make everything damn droppable, please. Twitch.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Of Notebooks and Past Lives




Once upon a time, I worked in the land of dirt and flowers and litter pickup. And while this world of physical labor was good, satisfying work—I loved planting flowers and didn’t mind so much the litter—it was difficult to write down those OMG moments of inspiration. For example:

In the early morning of a spring-break abandoned campus, roaming the grounds in a drizzle, the hood of my yellow raincoat muffling the infrequent sound of traffic on the nearby street. Boom. A sudden impression, brought on by memories of late-night battles with padded PVC swords (showing my nerd here), of an old battlefield. Walking along the sidewalk underneath the great oaks, my litter-stick in hand, I saw the entire first scene unfold before me. I had a first line. I NEEDED to write it down.

I learned early on that I have aha! moments at any given, random time, so I started carrying a notebook with me. Spiral notebooks were best, could be rolled or folded to fit in the space between the first aid kit and the dash of the golf cart. Or in the pocket of my cargo pants. The problem with spirals is the cover eventually comes off on me. Then my pages would get dirty or worse, wet. So I upgraded to a three-ring binder. Didn’t fit as well in the cart, but a bit more durable…until I had to duct tape it.

Though I’m no longer outside, I still find a need to jot something down when the computer isn’t in front of me. Like when I’m trying to go to sleep. I love the note app on my phone for this, and I still carry a notebook. And I still duct tape my three-ring binders.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Brain Confetti: 60K


I had this brilliant moment of profoundness that I was going to lay on the world this morning. But that was 5am, I was still half-asleep, and all that awesomeness evaporated from my brain while I brushed my teeth.

So, today, I’m talking word count. Not what range a book should be in per audience/genre/attention span. There are lots o’ great places to find that information, particularly some agenty type people who will dish out all the publishing intel you could ever want to know.

No, I’m talking personal word count. Yesterday, I made 60k on my WIP. Sixty-thousand words woven together in a language tapestry, bonded together by syntax and context to verbally paint the story playing out movie-style in my head.

I cheered, did a little chair dance on my kitchen stool, and threw invisible confetti. Because 60k is a mile-marker, and now I’m closer to my destination than I was before.

It’s taken me longer than I thought it would to get here. Life likes to throw wrenches in the inspiration cogs, and it takes a while to get the damn things out sometimes. Sometimes inspiration will throw one in there just for shits and giggles.

What’s that? You’re clipping ahead at 1500 words a day? Well look at this shiny, sparkly nugget of OMG! You must write this down! Oh, hey! Look at this magnificent idea to revise that old project you’ve been burying under that new WIP. You should do this! Right now!

Yeah, my brain is its very own torture device.

I don’t ignore those sparklies. I write them down, get it out of my system, because it’s still writing. But then I smack myself and get back on track. I set myself little goals. A thousand words or more if I’m feeling perky. A hundred if my head is full of squirrelly thoughts that I can’t quite catch. Some days, some really bad, horrible, why-did-I-open-my-laptop days, I aim for a sentence. And eventually, sooner or later, I get to 60k.

Celebrate your victories, even if it’s only one hundred words. Throw invisible confetti. Enjoy it. Because one hundred words is one hundred closer to your destination.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Poetry: Therapy


The pen wicks the
venom from my
soul
through veins and skin
to the tiny ridges of
my fingertips

down the gleaming
black shaft
poison drips into
the ink chamber
to bleed
into paper,
forever sealed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Poetry: All's Lost


His form, silhouetted against the red sky
Held a sense of defeat.
Slump shoulder posture,
His outstretched hands, pleading.


Glints of fire far from his reach
reminded him of his solitude
On a hilltop won by no one;
the child’s body lay at his feet.


Why?
His voice echoed across
the land and in his mind.
Blind eyes returned the question,
burning through his soul with
accusation.


Purple sky sparkling with white ice,
the vapor of his breath the only
sign of the living here.
Still he sought an answer
A lone figure against the night
Blotting out stars,
Stained blade in his hands.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where I Gush About Bush’s Album, Sea of Memories


“You shine, the world stops, and gods are humbled.”

That line right there, friends, melts me into a tingly mess of “Oh my God, that’s the best line ever!” It’s from the song, All Night Doctors, and even if the rest of the song was total crap (which it’s far from), I’d listen to it just to hear that line.

Yeah, I’m a lyrics girl.

While, in my opinion, this is the best lyric in the universe, it’s not the only reason I love this album. Bush brings together in Sea of Memories music that pulls at the core of me and beautiful lyrics that not only paint wonderful pictures in my head, but hit me in the emotional bull’s-eye. Gavin Rossdale’s voice, swoon-worthy as ever, turns it all into a concoction of inspiration that compels me to put fingers to keyboard.

And anything that makes me write is gloriously badass.  

My top three songs so far are All Night Doctors, The Sound of Winter, and Be Still My Love. There isn’t one that I just don’t like, and I’m sort of in love with their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide.

Anyone else want to share the love for Sea of Memories?