Friday, November 30, 2012

11/30/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. I apologize for the lack of anything on Wednesday, but I seriously just needed a day off from everything. Still do wish I had some time off, but I suppose I'll take what I can get. For now though let's get to work.

Today I bring you 'Fatal Melody' by Aubrey Campbell. It's told from a first-person perspective, which I always find impressive, and is a story about a siren named Liana who has decided she's had enough with killing sailors that come by her island. Each death has weighed on her and she has finally decided that she is finished.

Liana and her sister Callista are bound to the island they live on, and after Liana destroys yet another ship she discovers a survivor and vows to keep him safe. The deaths had always brought a heavy weight to her soul, and now with a man who survived she sees it as fate intervening. She vows to change her ways, who she is, and all that stands in her way is her sister.

I picked this story because the tales of the sirens are a piece of mythology that has lasted for so long, and yet I don't recall hearing how the stories ended. Obviously modern society has moved on from thinking mythical creatures caused storms and shipwrecks, but that's kind of sad if the end to the sirens' story is that we all just out-grew them.

'Fatal Melody' is available on Smashwords for absolutely free and I hope you all get a chance to check it out. I think everyone would enjoy it very much, so please tell your friends and help out the author a little bit.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I have been working on this blog for, it seems like ever, and it has been a great amount of success for me. After this year's NaNoWriMo however I am beginning to see the limits in what I am able to do. I have already come to the conclusion that next year if a gave I want is coming out at the same time, I can't participate in the contest unless it's something I can wait for. It is with a heavy heart that this blog is also coming up on the list of things I probably shouldn't do as much. I'm not saying I'm done forever, however what I am saying is that I severely need a break for at least a little bit while I heal up. I pushed myself a little too far and while during the writing I thought everything was fine, it was when the muscles came to rest that I discovered otherwise. I will be out for at least the next couple weeks while things calm down. I'll still be available on Twitter @explodingrunes and the facebook pages for 'The Light Rises' and 'Uncrossed Paths'. Thanks so much for all the support, loves and hugs, and I hope you have a nice weekend.

Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the weekend treated you well. Mine was spent with friends while family was with family I wasn't able to visit. It was also spent obsessing over Persona 4: the Golden on my Vita, but let's just be honest and say that we all knew that was going to happen regardless of what happened over the weekend.

NaNoWriMo may be over for me, but there are many of you that are doing the last big push to get in those 50,000 words in by this Thursday. To those of you who are doing that, I bid you the best of luck and happy thoughts. I know it's a tough thing to do and sometimes our bodies give out before our minds do in that regard, but I wanted to let you all know that I'm still cheering you on. It's a momentous undertaking and the fact that anyone is able to focus on something for that long and put that must thought and creativity into it is fantastic. You're all winners to me!

I'm hoping that if nothing else this week will be a little less hectic than the last one. Whenever there is a holiday during the week work gets super crazy because people are trying to get all their things done before the days off. Though now that I think about it, I doubt that will happen at least today because of all the people who are going to be playing catch up, but there's hope, right?

I'm alright trying to determine how long my break is going to be before I jump back into 'Through the Broken Mirror'. I know I want to spend sometime not bringing the laptop to work, mostly because I don't like always dragging my bag around, I just need to figure out how much time that's actually going to be. I think once I got to the 50,000 words mark that I am just under halfway through the story (yeah right, I know it'll end up longer, but I can dream) and while I'm able to work on it at my own, more reasonable pace, I just need to figure out what that pace is going to be. My original plan was to get some of it done before work, however my schedule changes weekly so that may be a bit more difficult.

Also I am still trying to figure out which retailer actually has the new edition up of 'The Light Rises' and which ones don't. I checked on Thursday and Apple DOES have the new edition, however, Sony and Barnes & Noble do not. Smashwords has said all they can really do is keep resending the file, so I have taken it upon myself to contact Barnes and Noble and as them about it. We'll see what they say, or if they say anything, so this is bound to be interesting. I'll keep everyone posted though, because frankly I would like people to be able to see the new edition and not keep getting the old one even if it says it's new. The best way to tell is that on the title page, there will be a list of actual other titles, and not just something that says more will be coming soon. If it has the list of titles it is the new edition, and please tell everyone you know and love. That would be appreciated.

For now though I must be off. I appreciate everyone for stopping by on this Cyber Monday. I've already gotten some good deals and I hope you all have too. I'll be back on Wednesday though, until then I hope you all have a great start to your week!

Friday, November 23, 2012

11/23/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back on this Friday! If you had the Thanksgiving experience yesterday I hope it was great for everyone and that you had the best of food. If you are among those out Black Friday shopping, I firmly believe you are a crazy person, so that if something I have only done once, will never do again, and also don't have the day off for.

Today I bring you 'Z' by Manuel Alves. It's about a boy who is the last of his kind that is kept in a room by himself and monitors his own security. He wants to know what he is and why he is the way he is, but the only answer he ever gets is 'Z'. He knows he is smarter than everyone else there, but what the scientists don't know is that he has figured out a way to escape his prison.

The reason why I picked this story today is that I am always a fan of stories where the protagonist is seeking freedom. They always have their reasons, and I always find it interesting how they handle the situation they're in. Z is the last of a whole list of children that were created artificially and he is smarter and more skilled than some of the smartest scientists and professors in the facility. He knows he's the last one, and the real worry is why that's the case. So he does what the others before him never did; he figure out how to escape his confined world to freedom.

Z is available on Smashwords for free, so I encourage everyone to check it out. It's relatively short, so maybe you can look it over between Black Fridays stops (though please don't do that while driving to and from those locations) or maybe, because it's free, you can give it to someone as a gift!

Thanks everyone for stopping by today! It looks like some of the links at other retailers are starting to actually work for 'The Light Rises'. I haven't checked Barnes and Noble yet, but I was able to look it up on Apple yesterday, and they DO have the new edition. The way you can tell is that on the title page it will actually have a list of other titles to come. If you see that please spread the links around for me! Until then I'll see everyone on Monday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

11/21/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope the week is seeing you all well so far. Mine has been kind of rough, but also productive. I'm hoping that today (and the fact that I have tomorrow off) will make the rest a bit better. We'll see though, at least I have video games to keep me occupied and distracted.

As you may or may not have seen, I got to the 50,000 word total yesterday. Now this is fantastic and I'm super excited to have gotten it completed before my goal, even after the discovery of their math not working right on the NaNoWriMo site. For those who are also participating in NaNoWriMo, the question once you are finished usually is one of wondering where to go from here. This can take a few different directions depending on what your goals are, naturally, so I will bring up the few I can think of off the top of my head here.

The first is to get your work published. Well, start the process of doing so anyway. If you went the short-story route for the month, then there is a strong possibility that your work is done for the initial writing portion of your story. If that is the case then it's time to get editing (after your 'I just got to 50,000 words, I'm going to do whatever I want for a little bit' break that you rightfully deserve) because that is going to take some time. In some cases editing can take just as long, if not longer than the initial writing process simply because of the number of times you have to go over everything and make sure it is 100% perfect. Once that's completed you have to decide if you're going to self publish or go through an agent, which is another ordeal in itself. However you decide to take your story that is up to you and I wish you the best.

The other path you can take is just to finish your work. This is the step I am on, seeing as I used NaNoWriMo this year to start the third book in the trilogy for 'The Light Rises'. Currently the book is (I think) just under halfway completed, and I plan on finishing up the writing portion as soon as I am able. As much as I want to plow through the next 50,000 words, I know that logically I should take a break or at the very least slow down. This is fine because while I am still happy I can pace myself and NaNoWriMo done without absolutely destroying my wrists, I'd rather not push it anymore than I already have. Once you finish your book then it's off to that editing process I mentioned before and then pretty much everything follows the same path from there.

The other option I can think of is to sit on the file and stare at it lovingly with affection and pride because you managed to accomplish a great feat of progress. Not that the people that are doing the other two options aren't going to do the exact same thing, but I also understand that sometimes people participate in the month not because they want to get something published, but so that they can feel the sense of accomplishment that comes along with it. I know and completely understand that there are people who a lack of time to actually get a lot of things done that aren't just associated with the stresses of life, and sometimes just being able to put your focus and attention on something that isn't life is a fantastic achievement. I salute and say congrats to you for being able to grasp onto something and have it mean that much to you. I am a firm advocate in work/life balance and I am incredibly happy for you.

No matter what route you're taking for your work this year, I am happy for everyone that finishes, and even for those that get closer or don't finish. This is a momentous project and sometimes it becomes a little more daunting once you actually start it. The important thing is that you got progress done and that you are proud of your work. Good job everyone, hold that sense of accomplishment up high for the world to see because you have earned every ounce of it.

Thanks so much everyone for stopping by. I will be back Friday for my normal review. I wish I had the day off the avoid everything like the plague it is the day after Thanksgiving, but that is not the case. I will however will bring you a wonderful story to look at! I hope everyone has a great rest of their week and if you celebrate it, a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

11/19/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! I welcome you all back and hope you had a great weekend. Mine was short and kind of tiring, but I'm here now and that's what matters. We've made it through the halfway point of the month of November, which means that if you're participating in NaNoWriMo that you should be at around 35,000 words as of today. I wish everyone who's part of this great endeavor the best of luck and all the support in the world. It is a daunting task and I'm sure we'll all make it together.

Sometimes I don't understand how the math on the NaNoWriMo site works, but I suppose that is not my place to question it. Whenever I get closer to the finishing mark it makes it easier and easier for me to see it. For example; when it says you're average words/day is somewhere in the 2300 - 2400 range, and it says you will be done by the 20th, and you have some 5000 words left, that doesn't really add up. So according to them I need to go over my average word-count for two days in a row. I mean, I plan on doing it, but I just don't understand why it doesn't say the 21st.

In other news, I am currently (still) working with the Smashwords IT department to try and figure out why the new edition of 'The Light Rises' still isn't actually available in the other retailers' stores. So far Barnes and Noble is the only one to change the description, which had filled me with hope and joy last week, however last night I decided to check out the sample and discovered that it is still the old file. One of my friends, Elizabeth Marshall (who you may recognize from a couple months ago) has suggested unpublishing and then republishing with just the new edition. I may try that if nothing else works. This is just getting incredibly frustrating seeing as I have been trying get the other locations to actually sell the new edition for now well over a month.

Also, the Holidays are now officially upon us, and while that may bring some of you a sense of dread, I wish to bring you hope. A lot of people have ebooks now, or an app that lets them read them, and for you who want to give a present but may also be a victim of the economy, I give you a coupon! With this coupon you can get 'The Light Rises' through Smashwords (don't worry, that is the right edition) for $1. Just go there and enter coupon code ER65P when you go to check out, and then POOF it'll be $1!

Thanks everyone for stopping by again today. This is bound to be a busy week, so I wish you all the best of luck. I'll be back on Wednesday hopefully victorious and with my Vita in hand so I can play Persona 4: the Golden until I go insane. Until then, have a great start to your week and let the finish month off right!

Friday, November 16, 2012

11/16/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I hope your week has seen you all well. Mine has been quite nice, though today is a little too cold for me. I just want to curl up under a pile of blankets and never move forever. Since that isn't an option though, let's get to business!

Today I bring you 'Grandpa's Genes' by Ted Stetson. It's a little story about a man telling his grand daughter a story of his earlier life. It's something all our grandparents do, but there's something different about this story. This grandfather's story is about how he saved the world from would-be invaders.

There aren't any names given throughout the story, and is just told as the man telling the girl the story from his younger years. He was out fishing one morning when he saw the fleet of ships, all of them different, but like the ones you'd see in movies. He saw the aliens come down, and he knew it was up to him to stop them or else the world would suffer. He managed to take out one before he was taken onto one of the ships to be examined and then interrogated. It was there he was able to show the aliens why invading America would be an absolutely terrible idea.

'Grandpa's Genes' is a nice little story if you just want to read about saving the day. No matter how small or short a story might be, if someone is doing something that makes a big difference it will make you feel better in the end. Since the teller of the story is giving the information to their grand daughter you get a sense for just how important what he did was. It is also free and available on Smashwords.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again. I am in the home stretch for NaNoWriMo, and I am looking forward to it. I hope everyone's progress is going well; remember how we get there isn't the important part, it's getting to the 50,000 words no matter what. I believe in everyone and I will see you back here on Monday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

11/14/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Hello! I'm so sorry this is a late post! Getting some errands done and then my writing and all with a mild migraine made me completely space out! Please forgive me! As a token of my apologies, please have this coupon to get 'The Light Rises' for $1: ER65P.

I have been super busy trying to organize myself to make sure I have time to get all my writing done during the day and still have time to do, pretty much anything else. This year has been tough, but I keep telling myself that I'm almost done and it'll just be a little bit longer, then I won't have to stress as much.

I hope everyone's progress is going well. We'll be at the halfway point tomorrow for the overall month, and I know that doing the 50,000 words in one month is a daunting task, but I'm sure we can all complete it together. It's also apparently National RPG Developing Month, or NagaDemon as that guy I live with keeps calling it (I don't actually know the acronym for it), so if there's anyone working on that too I wish you all the best of luck!

Something that has been working for me during my points of writing fury is going back to the idea of having a soundtrack to work with. Music is a great motivator, but if you focus too much on what your playlist is going to be, can also be a killer. The way I balance this is by picking music that a) doesn't have lyrics and b) is just a complete soundtrack anyone so there's no picking and choosing necessary. At least for me, music helps block out other distractions, and depending on where you're doing a majority of your writing this is incredibly important. For example, a lot of mine is done during my lunch break at work, and there is a TV people like to have on pretty much constantly. So I picked up a pair of headphones and queued up my Dr. Who soundtrack and got ready to go. Does it make me feel a little anti-social during lunch time? Yeah. Do I get a lot of writing done though? Absolutely.

However you write, I am excited for everyone participating this year. I know we can all make it to the 50,000 words together and just keep focused on how awesome it's going to feel to win this year. Be ready to give yourself a present of sorts to pat yourself on the back, and also be ready to take a little break. You will have earned it.

Until Friday though, I hope everyone has a great rest of your week. Again, I'm really sorry about how late this post is. I hope you can all forgive me with that coupon. Thanks again and I'll see you on Friday! Have a great rest of the week!

Friday, November 9, 2012

11/09/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I have a lot of writing to do and very little time to do it in today, so I wanted to get right to the normal review for everyone to enjoy!

Today I bring you 'Zombie Kitten' by Dawn Harshaw. The world ended a long time ago and now Vampires are in control of what's left of major cities. They're not your normal vicious species, something about watching the world end changed them. Now, though they are still predatory, they are forced to watch over their own, and they've learned they're not the only things to be feared.

Elise has been dealing with a bully in school for far too long, and she's finally decided to put an end to it. She learns of where he's been hiding to discovered he's been torturing small animals and infecting them with some kind of zombism. One he has infected is a small kitten, which she decides is the last straw. The question is will the young vampire stand up to her bully or will she be forced to run even more now.

I picked this story because there is pretty much an epidemic of bullying in the world right now. It's not that I suggest the main character's method is the best one, but honestly anyone finding the courage to stand up to someone that's hurting them is a good read. No one deserves to be hurt by someone else, and Elise is a good example of someone finding what motivates them to stop their own pain and help someone else in return.

'Zombie Kitten' is available for free on Smashwords, and I recommend picking it up for anyone who wants to read about a strong girl who just wants to do the right thing. She knows what's right and wrong and she wants to help the kitten, even though zombies aren't really seen as anything good to a vampire's eyes.

Thanks everyone for stopping by and checking out the review today. My NaNoWriMo progress is still going strong. I'm hoping to be at the halfway mark by Saturday (but we'll also hope for a more responsible day and say Sunday or Monday too) and then it will be onto the home stretch. I'll be back on Wednesday though, Monday is a holiday here in the states and I super need that day off. Thanks again and have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

11/07/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back! I hope your week has been fun and productive so far. I won't get political, but no matter who you voted for you have to agree that race was intense. It was like every time I looked at an update things were either one vote off or flipping back and forth. I don't remember an election like that before!

Hopefully you weren't all too distracted watching the political stuff and forgot about NaNoWriMo. I know getting to 50,000 words in such a short time is tough, especially with things like "family" and "the needs of others" and "eating" are getting in the way. I know there are a lot of you out there struggling to keep up with the word quota, and it's not like I'm assuming you all type and create slowly. I'd never do that, it's rude, and I know my own typing speed is not average. I completely understand that life just wants to shove itself in the way sometimes, and you can't always put it off until you reach that daily quota.

The website io9 had a great little article about how to finish your novel during NaNoWriMo the other day, and while I don't agree with all of their tips, it's still worth noting as helpful. For me I do agree with idea of rewarding yourself both in the writing sense and also post-writing sense. Sometimes people just need something to motivate them and using the 'If I finish X then I get Y' mentality is a way to do that. Granted you need to also have the self-control to not throw X over your shoulder and immediately go for the reward. I was hope that as writers, and that craft itself not being a fast one at all (Stephen King is the exception and a robot) that we'd all have the patience and self-control necessary to make that work.

Something else that is really important, and I'm sure I've mentioned this before, is to have some kind of support structure. I'm not talking about people that will read your stuff as you're doing it, but more just people you can talk to that will encourage you to keep going. If you have an epiphany and you work out how something works that's been kind of bugging you for a while, tell someone that you know will appreciate that. If you are excited because you went above the daily word quota and put yourself ahead of the game, shout that to the heavens. Encouragement is incredibly important when it comes to writing because it gives us as authors something to work with. It's basically our test audience, if the actual test audience was filled with people who will say nice things.

Keep it up everyone who's participating along with me this month. My projections are still good to finish before the 22nd, which is fantastic. I'm going to try and slow it down a little typing wise just to make sure I don't go one week and have to take a break that sets me back. Remember what I said before, if it starts hurting, no matter what or where, it is time to take a break. I can't stress that enough. I'd hate to come back on December 1st to hear about how many people have hurt themselves.

I'll be back on Friday with my normal review. I hope you all have a great rest of your week and make wonderful progress on your journey through NaNoWriMo. Just remember to have fun with it and I'll see you back here!

Monday, November 5, 2012

11/05/2012 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! I hope your weekend saw you all well. I'm a little tired, but because of Daylight Savings time I was able to get an hour back. I'm just a little convinced it's an hour later than it really is, which is kind of throwing me off. It hasn't hampered my Nano progress though, which is good because I am making good time despite feeling like I have a severe lack of time.

I'm getting back into my rhythm for the month, and while I'm reasonably convinced I'll be able to get done before Thanksgiving there is still that concern that a couple days before something is going to force me to take a break for a day or two. After Nanowrimo of Christmas Past a couple years ago I have done what I can to make sure that I pace myself with all my typing, and there are points when I'm still nervous about it, or I have to force myself to not do more, no matter how badly I want to.

So far, so good though this year. I'm also trying to see how things work out by writing out the chapter numbers as I go. My normal way of thinking was that speed was more important than determining chapter breaks at that moment, so I would just put *** where I wanted potential breaks to be. The problem came later when I was numbering chapters on something that was over 200 pages long. Sure, the first few were fine, but it was later, when I was putting say 'Chapter 12' when I was paused, go back to the previous one and make sure the order was right before going onto the next. I don't want that to happen this time around, so I'm see how this works.

For those that are working on Nanowrimo with me, I with you all the best of luck. This is a really hard month for all of us, and some things are going to get neglected in order to make time for the daily word quota to get done. Make sure your loved ones know what you're doing so they don't get upset, that's the most important part, and also do what you can to make sure it wasn't completely interfere with your work; Nanowrimo is fun, but so is getting paid for your work. Let's each go at a pace we're comfortable with, and let's get to that 50,000 (I was so happy to learn I was wrong about the word total, again) together so we can celebrate at the end.

Thanks everyone for stopping by. I'll be back on Wednesday and hopefully I'll have a B&N link for you with the updated 'The Light Rises'. Smashwords has told me their techs are now making sure the new edition shows up at the other retailers, and I am giving them a week or so to actually see if it happens. So far nothing, so if I don't see them by Wednesday I'll be sending another e-mail. Until then though, good luck and I'll see you then!

Friday, November 2, 2012

11/02/2012 Fantastic Friday!

Hello everyone and welcome back! I'm glad you've all decided to come by today. I've been trying to get through my own word quota for NANOWRIMO, so hopefully I'll be able to get something done before I go to work. For now though, let's get right to the review.

I bring you 'The Keening' by Keith Gapinski. It's a short story about a man trying to deal with his anxieties. It was bad enough that he moved away from the city he lived to try and get somewhere quiet and safe to help set his mind at ease. Unfortunately, life has a way of making things difficult and a strange cry one night threatens to bring all of the stress of the city back to him, and even possibly more.

Robert is someone who is just trying to figure out how to get through life without having to worry about what might cause his next set of stresses or possibly panic attacks. He figured the city was a major cause of this, so he moved away from it. Somewhere quiet, somewhere safe, somewhere he wouldn't need to worry about all the hustle and craziness of the city. What he heard that night though was different, that was something he shouldn't have heard, and now he feels the stress levels rising, yet still he knows he needs to find the source of it. The only problem is that something about it, that sound, has the possibility to make everything he hated about the city 10 times worse.

'The Keening' is available for free on Smashwords, so I do suggest you all go and check it out. I picked it because sometimes we all have to face what causes us stress and anxiety or else we're never going to move beyond it, and all it does is control our lives. I know there are certain things that are harder than others, but what's important is to identify the sources and try to help ourselves to fix it. I hope everyone picks it up for either a lunch or coffee break, it's short enough for anyone to enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by today. I am going to go into over-time with my NANOWRIMO progress. I'm at 2460 words right now, which is great if I was going for the normal word quota. However, my attempt at finishing up before Thanksgiving is making things a little difficult. We'll see how things go today though. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a fun and relaxing weekend!