Monday, April 30, 2012

04/30/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Good morning and welcome back! I hope everyone had a fun and exciting weekend! We did character intros for Mage and I also went to the Magic: the Gathering prerelease event to try and be a bit social. Didn't do as well as I could have with the card playing, but had lots of fun, talked to nice people, and then got to play a wizard later on that day. All in all a good weekend.

I started typing out 'Daughter of the Shackled King' as of Friday. What I had hoped would be a rather quick process, I believe will be about the speed of a normal story. The part that made it a bit difficult to start, was when I went to find the file I had started several months ago (I've been distracted, ok?) I couldn't find it. I did an entire file search on my computer and it was nowhere to be found. Then I remembered I had reformatted my laptop a couple months ago and realized that file, apparently the only one on my whole computer, didn't live through it. That was a bit frustrating. I believe that what I have now is better, but that doesn't change the fact that I had already started this process and now must start from the beginning.

Going to the prerelease was also an interesting experience. I know the people who ran it, but other than that I was on my own. From what I had heard about people that play at that particular shop I was kind of nervous, but everyone was really nice and one of the girls made cookies for everyone. (Thanks Cordelia, if you're reading this! Those things saved my life!) It was fun to do, we'll see if I get to go to the next one.

Then it was off to start the Mage campaign. Now sometimes when we start new games it's hard for me to feel really involved, but because my friend and I had been doing some prep-work beforehand, this was a much easier transition than I'm used to. For those that aren't familiar, in Mage: the Awakening, you play someone that's well, a magician. In our game we're setting it in modern times, you can make a character that's part of an Order, or someone who isn't, and you try to gather the secrets of magic while not ripping reality apart.

As I said before, because we got to 2000 views I have something for everyone. So, for now until May 30th, you can get 'The Light Rises' for 75% off! That will make it $1.00 for those who are like me and want computers to do the math for you. Just got to 'The Light Rises' and use the coupon code AW99C when you go to check out to get the discount. Thanks everyone for helping us get this far! I look forward to many other celebrations too! See you all on Wednesday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

04/27/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Welcome back and I hope your week has seen you well! I feel mine has been productive, even though some things aren't as 'done' as I want them to be, other fun things have come up so that's perfectly fine!

Today I bring you 'The Marathon' by Gabrielle Starr. It's a short first-person-perspective story about finding your way and breaking through the barriers in your life. It's something we've all gone through at one point or another, and this is how the woman in this story handles in.

She's just running, and feels like she has been forever. Only while dressed for an Olympic marathon, she's not on a track, but rather a seemingly endless tunnel desperately trying to reach the light at the end. She's been beaten down, mentally and physically, but still she keeps going. The light at the end is relief and freedom and though she can almost touch it, she never gets to go through.

You learn many things about this lady's life even though it's a very short story. You know she's been hurt in a way that would rock anyone's foundation. You learn just how much of a fighter she is, and what someone goes through emotionally when faced with something as painful as betrayal.

'The Marathon' is currently free at Smashwords, but only until April 30th, at which point it will become .99. If you want something short and inspiring to read I recommend checking it out. Also, remember the part where it's free until Monday!

Thanks everyone for coming by again this week and helping get this blog up to the 2000+ hits. 3000 will be the next benchmark and I'm excited to see how quickly we can get there. I hope your weekend will find you well, tomorrow I get to try and be social at a prerelease event, so I'm a little nervous, but I'm hoping for fun. Then it'll be character introduction for Mage! Awesome! See everyone on Monday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

04/25/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back! I'm glad you're all able to make it this morning, and I hope that my post today will be, at the very least, somewhat useful. I also see that we broke 2000 views! I'm so incredibly happy, it makes me feel like a real blogger. Remember this means that Monday's post will have a few extras on it. I would do it sooner than that, but I don't want to take anything away from Friday.

Today I wanted to talk just a little bit about foreshadowing. Next to things making sense and character development/back story this is probably my favorite thing. If executed well it causes those 'Ah ha!' moments in readers that to me are some of the greatest signs you've done something right. The thing that makes it a bit complicated is figuring out how to put it in and where. If you do it too soon, or are too subtle, the reader might not pick up on it when the big reveal happens later, too close to that reveal and it'll seem obvious.

Now when you're actually writing out your story (at least this is a problem I have) anything you put in there for subtle or build-up effect are going to feel obvious. This is because to you already know what's happening, of course it's obvious to you. To a writer putting in foreshadowing is somewhat awkward and you'll honestly never know if it was done right until you have someone that isn't you read through the story.

One of my favorite forms of foreshadowing is the play on words, especially when it comes to character names. I've brought this up before when I talked about naming your characters, and this is where it will make or break certain aspects of your story. This is something that if done correctly your readers won't even notice until the reveal happens, and it is magical. In one of my current projects I have two characters that do this, I won't say which ones, but trust me, they're there. The example I'll actually give you is one that I think everyone should at least know (and if you don't...the Statue of Limitations on this is over, so I'm sorry, but yeah.) In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban there's Professor Lupin, about a third of the way through the book/movie, Snape gives a lesson about werewolves and how they work, you see that Profession Lupin is afraid of moonlight, and then BAM time to kick ass and be awesome. Or flip out and kill stuff (as werewolves are wont to do.) My point is that everything about the character was either a play on his name, or foreshadowing for the scene at the end of the story.

Whenever you put something in there specifically for foreshadowing, remember that to you it's going to feel obvious. I can't stress this enough. That doesn't mean don't put it in there because you're afraid of everyone just jumping on it right away and knowing everything about what's going to happen. That means put it in there, then have someone read the story, remember beta-readers are important and (may actually be) your friends. They are the people that tell you what works and what doesn't, and possibly how to make it work. So go crazy with your foreshadowing, make references to mysterious things that haven't happen, or won't happen until another book in the series, do it, because it makes people pay attention to what's happening.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again and putting us over our 2000 view goal! I really appreciate it! I look forward to seeing everyone back here this Friday for the weekly review, then it's off to the weekend and my attempt at being social Saturday morning. See you all then, have a good rest of your week!

Update: Accidental foreshadowing is totally a legit art form.

Monday, April 23, 2012

04/23/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Greetings all! I hope your weekend was a nice break from whatever drives you crazy during the week. Mine was spent wrapping up one game and getting things ready for the next. We'll be playing Mage: the Awakening, which I'm rather looking forward to because well, magic is awesome. Sunday was fun as well because I spent my day hanging out with that guy I've spent the last 5 years with and hope to spend times 500 more.

I've mentioned it before that gaming is a rather important staple in my life, so when we transition into a new one, sometimes it's a little difficult for me. That usually happens when I start writing stuff to follow the characters, but I think since I've been busy working on other projects and didn't have time to do that with our fantasy game that's why I'm not having that problem. Or it could also be because a friend and I have already worked out our new characters and are working to make their backstories badass and awesome.

I really do like the New World of Darkness and how things translate so well between the different games. So having us take characters we had in Hunter: the Vigil (which, I absolutely love to death btw) and move them to characters for Mage was ridiculously easy. I mean, finding out what spells would work for them was a bit tricky, but in the end it worked out. It also means we get to rolls ridiculous amounts of dice, which I'm all for.

It looks like we still haven't quite gotten to 2000 hits yet, and while I'll admit I'm a little sad, I ca also see that we are incredibly close. I'll push back my special thing for next week, so let's hope we can get it to 2000 hits by the end of this Friday! So until then I wish you all a good week and fun times, I'll see you all back here on Wednesday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

04/20/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Welcome everyone to another Friday! I hope your week has been entertaining and that your weekend plans are even more exciting! For not though, let's get right to it shall we?

Today I bring you 'The Accidental Muse' by Amy Rose Davis. It's a short story that follows the life of an amnesiac girl living in a rather special Keep where there's little distinction between class level and the Lord is kind and respected.

Callie is in love with the kind Lord, though he keeps himself distant because of the loss of his wife during childbirth several years ago. Callie wants nothing more than the bring out the wonders that she sees whenever he looks at his son, but is happy with the world she has.

Things turn for the strange when they let a beggar into the Keep one night; a man with a harp who offers to play in exchange for food for the night. His words are strange and everyone in the Keep is affected. Now all inside must fight to keep their peaceful lives as they are while not losing sight of what's truly important.

'The Accidental Muse' is a recent upload and is available on Smashwords for .99. I do recommend picking it up, as sometimes you just need something to read that's hopeful and heartwarming. So please go check it out and tell your friends!

Thanks everyone for stopping by again! I see we're getting ever-so closer to reaching the 2000 views mark. Remember, if we get up to 2000 by the end of the day I'll do something neat and special for everyone on Monday. For now though I'll leave you with this and see you on Monday, have a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

04/18/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone! I hope your week has seen you well so far. Mine has been interesting, and today will be a continuation of it. Work has been setting up classes to help everyone who isn't relocating get back into the workforce, which is really nice of them to do. I'm learning a lot, and while I might not have reached that 'Holy crap I need a job right now!' stage of panic, I'm making sure to write down as much as I can so that when/if that happens, I'll be ready.

For now though, let's try and focus on things that are nice. Like writing! Last week we talked about how doing some research will save you from pain and suffering when making a story set in a real-world location. Today I want to expand on that a little, since it's not like worlds you're completely making up won't need that too.

Let's say you're making a fantasy world, on a planet in some far off galaxy where things are rad and magic really works like it does in D&D or Harry Potter. Now you've already established your laws the world will follow (reference back to those posts about world creation), and now you need to actually design it. What's it climate like, is it similar to Earth, how many races are there. This is like research in that you'll need to look up how different climates actually are, especially if you're not familiar with them. I don't care how smart you are, if you live in say, Hawaii, you aren't going to instantly know exactly what things are like in Wisconsin in July on a Tuesday every year. (and if you do, then....what about Georgia?)

This is different from establishing the laws your world has to follow in that anything you design with the world is already going to be following them. You'll also need to come up with the food chain of the world. If your human-like race is at the top of it, figure out what made them get there. If they only think they're at the top, what don't they know about? Is there a piece of society that worships a long-since-forgotten deity? Go look up how people used to that in our world, maybe similar to the Mayans or feudal Japan or China, or even Ancient Egypt. Is magic frowned upon, and if so how does society handle it being there? Go look up information during the Inquisition, which would be helpful if you're trying to make it suspenseful and dramatic for the main characters.

My point is there's always going to be something you need to do research on, even if you don't think it would be necessary. While it's fun to pull stuff out of hats and make everything up, and I'm not saying that isn't possible, if you have some kind of basis for that thing you're putting together it will make things incredibly easier to keep track of.

Thanks for stopping by today. It looks like we're almost up to 2000 views, if we can do that by the end of Friday I'll put up something nice for everyone on Monday! I hope we get there, I believe in you, I always have!

Monday, April 16, 2012

04/16/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope this weekend saw you all well. Mine was rather nice, though Sunday (and apparently today) was spent dealing with a sore back. I must have done something strange in my sleep, so my hope is that it's only temporary. Luckily back issues likely won't get in the way of progress, so I'll hopefully get a decent amount of writing done this week.

I keep realizing that I need to get a new laptop, and while I know there's always the 'Don't go with that brand, brand X is better in all ways' arguments, I've already decided on a brand, so that part's already done. I won't say what it is here, because as much as I would love a discussion thread to start up, I would prefer it not be a flame war. All I will say is that is won't be a Mac or Apple product. For some reason when I get a hold of one, all computer/tech knowledge leaves my brain and I don't have the slightest idea on how to use it.

Each day I have to fight with my Shift key though I'm reminded just how badly I need a new laptop though. I just need to do a little more saving so I can get it, and luckily it's been agreed in the apartment that the laptop is not a frivolous expense, so yay for that!

I've also been working on drawing a bit more while at work. It gives time for ideas to marinate for stories and also helps me flesh out how the characters actually look. If you've stopped by the Facebook page for 'The Light Rises' you've seen Amelia already. I'm debating whether or not the put up any of the others, mostly because of the lack of response from the first one. I can always post them up here as well, so if there's any request to see them, please let me know and I'll do my best to oblige.

For now though I must be off. Work is still crazy with things closing in 2 moths, and it's a matter of trying to get things lined up for after that happens. I believe I'm under a bit more stress than I believe, which is actually kind of annoying, but that also means I get to write more to wind down! I suppose that means my stress is a win for everyone is that fair? Anyway, I'll see everyone back here on Wednesday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

04/13/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Welcome back everyone for Friday the 13th! I know that this day tends to have a bad reputation, but I've always enjoyed it, so I hope you will too! I wanted to get to things right away, so let's do just that!

Today I bring you 'Justice' by Richard Davila. It's about Rictor Davis, a young man born with inhuman abilities that has decided he's going to use them to clean up his neighborhood. Superheroes are generally fun, so I wanted to show this to everyone.

Now, as with a story a bit back, there's quite a bit of profanity to start, so hopefully you'll be able to just sit back and relax as all the people doing that get what they deserve. Rictor has taken the name Justice for his alter persona, and has decided to stop crime, like all of it, in his area of Western New York.

His goal is to bring hope back to his home, even as the darkness murder and drug dealing continue to build up around him, and people lose faith in each other. However, his battle is uphill and there are days he wonders if what he's doing is making a difference.

"Justice" is a full-length novel and available for $2.99 on Smashwords. I recommend this story for anyone who wants to make a difference. It's satisfying to read, since there are so many times we see something and feel powerless to do anything, and Justice takes it into his own hands to fight off the bad guys.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again. This was another productive week and I'm glad I got to share it with all of you. Come back on Monday, I'll be here!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

04/11/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Good day everyone. You may notice this post is up a bit earlier than normal, that would be because there is a job fair I'm going to that requires I be awake at something closer to a more 'normal' hour of the day. While I disagree with the time, I understand it it for my future and will accept it.

Today I wanted to look at how to handle research in writing. Unless you're going for high fantasy or science fiction on a world separate from Earth, there are going to be things that can be located or referenced in real life. Now back before things like the Internet this wasn't nearly as much of an issue, but now someone can read/see a reference, get curious about it, then (in many cases, mine included) pull out their phone and do some fact checking. This means that even something like mythological references must be researched because if you get one tiny detail backwards it's going to be time for a flame-war.

Now, unlike college thesis', Wikipedia is a fairly good source. Especially if what you're looking up is just a general idea or reminder of what something is. For example, in one of my stories I need to figure out the layout for the Underworld, and the path the character needs to take while there. This is going to take them through the Underworlds of both Greek and Egyptian, and while I know about Greek fairly well, Egyptian is where I start getting lost. So I hopped over to Wikipedia, looked up Du'at, and got a fairly good outline for what I needed.

If your stories are in real-life cities, consulting a map will be useful as well. I for one don't travel much, so when I get around to editing my stories I'll need to look at a map of London and also modern day New York City, just to make sure the distances and general neighborhoods are correct. Think of all of this like all those movies that say they're set in Seattle, but the skyline is obviously Vancouver BC. Sure it works for things on the ground level, but pull back and people are going to start giggling when they don't see the Space Needle.

You need to do some amount of work for your stories besides writing them. Now, sure you can wait until you get to the re-write/editing process, since the most important part is actually getting the full idea down, but when it comes time to start putting the finished product together you need to make sure things are consistent. Like I said before, I blame the Internet for pretty much all of this necessity. I'm also not saying that taking a myth and playing on it yourself a little is out of the question, but there are going to be certain things people are going to catch, no matter how small the detail, and it is going to just shock you when they do.

I appreciate everyone stopping by to see my tired typing. I hope you all come back on Friday for my weekly review as well! Until then, I hope you all have a good rest of your week, and wish me luck!

Monday, April 9, 2012

04/09/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Good morning everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend and got to do some much-needed relaxing. On Saturday I got to go to the anime convention, Sakura-Con, and it was kind of nostalgic. I hadn't gone for about 4 years, and it was really neat to go back, though I do remember one of the reasons why I generally got a hotel room to stay in; somewhere to go and rest away from giant crowds of people!

Progress in 'Rending the Seal' is coming along quite nicely, even if I am getting concerned about the length. It's longer than 'The Light Rises' and the page count is only going to go up once I actually format chapters into it. I know it'll be fixed when editing happens, but I've been trying to figure out what's important and what can be cut out, and it's becoming difficult.

Things at work are still crazy, and that has made it so the process in 'Feathers of the Dead' has slowed, but I also think I need to marinate some ideas regarding that story, so it's probably for the best. It's kind of hard to have writing be one of the ways you calm down and relax, but not be able to. In the spare time I do have, I've been drawing a bit more, so that seems to help some, however I will make more progress on that story. I'd love to be able to finish it before my center closes and the panic really sets in. (Unless I have a new job by then, then there won't be panic, only rescheduling)

Thanks everyone again for stopping by. I will be back on Wednesday where we'll talk about more writing stuff. Until then, I hope you all have a nice start to your week!

Friday, April 6, 2012

04/06/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Thanks for stopping by everyone! I apologize for not having anything on Wednesday, but I seriously just needed some me-time. With things being as crazy as they are right now, I needed time to just relax and not worry about stuff. I appreciate your patience for letting me have that.

For today though, I thought we'd look at 'Lesser Gods' by Tyler Vitt. It's a bit different from what I normally put up, so I hope you like it.

In the city of Haven, everything is protected by a Shield that is strengthened by divine energy. The world outside the Shield is covered in a poisonous mist, so venturing beyond it is certain death. The city is also protected by the Seraphim, angelic hosts that act as messengers and voices of His will.

When the attendant keeping Uriel in check loses track of his Seraph, eyes start to turn to him suspiciously. Uriel looked upon the people being protected as unworthy and weak. With Uriel missing, there's fear of what he'll do, so he must be found at all costs.

Anything that deals with the myth of the various angels I find incredibly interesting. It shows they aren't just the pretty people in robes and wings, but rather are the warriors and parts of an army that should be feared/respected. 'Lesser Gods' is currently available at Smashwords for $.99.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I hope you enjoy this story as you have the others I've posted up. This weekend will involve me running around at hours too early for me anymore, but hopefully it'll be fun. I'll see everyone back here on Monday!

Monday, April 2, 2012

04/02/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Welcome back everyone. I hope you all had a fun weekend. I got my hair chopped off and prettified to give me a sporting chance with any potential interviews. It's also nice it's not getting tangled on everything anymore either (my hair was long >_>). Something I wanted to say right away, is that I would like to thank K.B. Robey for her reply. I got the e-mail notification, but whenever I look around the blog it says it's not there. Thanks so much for stopping by, I'm glad you liked what I said about your book!

I feel somewhat like a hypocrite, and it's making me sad. I talk about the importance of goal setting and what-not, and then I wasn't able to complete my own. Admittedly, I also talked about how there are going to be other circumstances that may cause things to change, and that did happen, but that doesn't change that I feel bad about it. I did manage to get 'Feathers of the Dead' to handwritten page 100 before the end of March, but 'Rending the Seal' while close, is not yet complete. Stress and physical issues were a factor in that, but that doesn't mean I don't feel any less bad about it.

Today marks the start of a new week, so hopefully things will be a bit better. I would love for them to calm down a bit, but anxiety and work don't always help with that. I know I keep saying it, but 'Rending the Seal' will be done in April. It has to be, because otherwise I've made that story far too long for it's own good. I know what you're saying: "It's not how long, it's how you handle it" but understand, that story is now at the 200 page mark, it seriously doesn't need 100 more. I don't think so at least...

Anyway, I hope to see everyone back here on Wednesday! I will continue to work as much as I can so that I can achieve what goals I do have. Have a good start to the week!