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 fiancĂ©’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 fiancĂ© 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!

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?
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.