Friday, May 31, 2013

05/31/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Greetings everyone! I hope the week has been nice to all of you. May ends today, which is still just absolutely crazy to me. I'm not ready for June, and I know that it's going to blow by like everything else has. For right now though, let's get to the reason you came here.

Though there's no title on the cover image, I bring you 'Raising Dead' by Aaron Dennis. An apprentice watches his master carefully trying to learn the truth so he can unlock the secrets of necromancy. They are cut off from the society they are gathering specimens from, and the apprentice Gaulder, starts to question his master's methods.

He's been alone for a majority of his life, and Gaulder has become focused on finding the immortality ritual, and the only way to do that is through necromancy. It's frowned upon in polite society, and so he follows his master's guidance as they live on the outside. He has questions about why his master is going about things the way he is, mostly because he sees it as inefficient. He needs to know the ritual though, and he can sense his master is close, so Gaulder waits until it's time for him to do what he's longed to do since the day his parents died.

'Raising Dead' is available on Smashwords for free, and by the time you all get there I don't know if the number of words will be loading properly yet, but it actually is a short story. It was fun to read and I'm always a fan of learning how something in a world works, whether it's magic or just the law, it's always interesting and having a fun story to go along with it is always a bonus. So please go check it out, I'm sure the author would appreciate it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I will be back on Monday for my normal post, so I hope in the meantime you all have a super fun weekend. I'm going to be working on preparing for my trip at the end of next week, so that should be exciting! For now have a great weekend and a great start to June!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

05/29/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone and welcome back. It's crazy that May is almost over already. I'm super not ready for it to be June yet, let me tell you. On the other hand, I'm also ready for May to be done after the craziness of the last couple weeks, and I am ready for things to just calm the crap down again.

Writing while juggling stressful times is super hard, ask anyone who's had to experience it. Let's say you have a deadline (self imposed or other) and then something comes up that takes you attention away from it. That is going to result is stress and likely some form of sleepless nights while trying to meet that deadline. It's a little bit easier when you give the deadline to yourself, but that  doesn't mean the stress will instantly go away.

Hopefully if you have an agent if you contact them and explain that the world exploded in a not good way they'll be understanding and let you take some more time. I really wouldn't know because I haven't managed to get an agent, however I'm hoping they aren't jerks when it comes to emergency situation. I only know what I've seen in TV, and that's basically in the end they work for you. Of course this is after they were a hard ass and needed to learn some lesson about love or whatever. That is also the plot for a good percentage of romantic comedies. Weird.

Anyway, my point is that dealing with stress while writing shouldn't be something that ends up causing more stress in the end. Writing is something you love, it's your passion, and you want to do it. If it ends up stressing you out then the only thing that's going to follow is resentment, either toward the act of writing, yourself, the world, or others who don't seem to have the same problem as you do. You seriously don't want that to happen, really any of that because in the end you will be miserable. Writing should be some kind of outlet that makes the stress go away, and after doing it you should feel excited and relaxed, not angry. Always remember that.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, I know this was a little short, but I got going a little late. I'll be back on Friday though, so please come take a look at everything then. A reminder about next week; I'll be here Monday and Wednesday, but not Friday. I will be boarding a plane at an hour that doesn't exist. I'll come back the following Wednesday though, so I won't be gone forever. Anyway, for now though have a great rest of your week!

Friday, May 24, 2013

05/24/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Good day everyone. I hope the week was nice to you. I for one am happy it's (finally) Friday, which means in just a few short (agonizing) hours I'll get to start my three day weekend! I also get to hear back from the vet today to see if my cat's numbers are looking any better. So...that will be fun.

For now let's just get to the reason why you're all actually here. I bring you 'Donuts' by Beth Pratt. Now as much as I wish for them to be physical ones, because frankly we all deserve to have something yummy, I don't have to power to make them manifest over the internet yet, so please enjoy the short story instead.

Lacy has a habit for running late to meetings, not that it's actually her fault. So the donuts are an attempt at putting out an fires before they start. Especially since her boss isn't known for his understanding and clam voice. However things get a little out of control when she actually makes it to the meeting and things start going in a whole new direction.

This story is a work of what's called Flash Fiction. It's when you sit down and write a story in a relatively quick amount of time, do some quick edits and then show it to the world. It's a neat format and one I keep wanting to do more with, but am always too nervous to do so. Not to mention I would get stuck on my lack of cover-design ability. Like many flash fictions though, this story is short, sweet, and fun to read.

'Donuts' is available on Smashwords for free, and like I said before, is very short, so you might be able to read it over your break while partaking in, dare I say, a donut yourself. Please help this author out by taking a look at her story and letting you know you like it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. As I said previously, since Monday is a holiday there won't be a post that day, so I'll be seeing everyone back on Wednesday. Then it'll just be me frantically preparing for my Vegas trip on the 7th. I hope this weekend sees all of you well, so until I see you again on Wednesday I hope you all have a fun next few days!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

05/22/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back everyone. I hope the week is treating you well. So far mine has been a ball of stress, but hopefully things will calm down as the end of the week approaches. Due to the holiday on Monday, I have a three-day weekend, which will be incredibly nice to experience. That also means there won't be a post on that day because I will be enjoying my day off by trying (desperately) to sleep in.

I've often talked about how writing is a giant balancing act with everything else in life. Sometimes this is more apparent than others, and I really can't stress enough just how important it is to make sure you find a good balance. The ability to multitask on some level is also very important, because while you may not be able to write at all hours of the day, sometimes you have an idea that just won't go away no matter what you do. In those cases I do what I call 'marinating', it's a silly term, I know, but that's really what happens.

Let's say I know I'll have some time later when I get off work, and feel like being productive in a way that doesn't involve my recent dive into crafting. I'll ask for a generic idea, likely involving the current game we're in, and while I'm sitting there trying not to let my brain melt at work, I expand on the idea. I don't write anything down unless it's just a couple words to remind me of something that I know I'm likely to forget, all I do is think. I work out specific interactions, I think of how conversations will go, how whatever the dramatic/climatic scene will be, and who the story will involve. I just think of all that and let it sit there while I work on that thing I get paid the real money to do.

The process helps me in a few ways in that it makes actually sitting down to write everything go relatively quickly because I know how things are going to begin and end, it helps me develop certain reactions to make sure they're appropriate to the individual characters, and it also helps me work out whatever forms of writers block appears before I'm in the middle of something and don't know what to do. If I don't know how something is going to progress I've already taken the time to figure all that out, and any of the 'how would this person react to this...' stuff that happens has already been taken care of as well.

I don't know if this will work for everyone, this is just what's help me out. Contrary to what you learned in school, writing is not an exact science. Sure sentence structure is neat, but everyone gets to their story their own way, and there isn't any right or wrong way to do it. Now if you way involves sneaking up on bums and skinning them alive, while getting yourself immersed in your genre is...interesting, let's not hurt anyone, ok? It's just like method acting; it's really cool how you can almost become another person entirely, but when it gets to the point of hurting yourself or others, let's take a step back and think about how we should think of a different way. Write however you feel is comfortable for you whether that be carefully plotting out each and every scene and piece of dialogue, or smashing the keys on the computer and hoping words are made.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again today. I hope the rest of the week treats you all nicely. Barring a disaster, I should be back on Friday and hopefully I'll bring with me a story you're all interested in. For now though I hope you all have a great and fun rest of your week!

Monday, May 20, 2013

05/20/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hello everyone! I hope the weekend was nice to all of you. I apologize for the lack of post after Wednesday. The trip to the vet was educational, and Thursday ended up kicking me in the face with stress that boiled over to the rest of the week. Having a sick cat is really tough, and while I do have a cat with a chronic condition (my rescue is asthmatic) I had put the other one's problems in the back of my mind until this last week. Now he's on medication and all I can do is hope that it's solving the problem.

I know I sound like a crazy cat lady, and I'm sure that is going to be my destiny one day, but my cats are very important to me, and when one of them is sick like this it's very scary. It didn't help that the guy I live with also got sick, so I had to work on fixing up both of them. Again, I do apologize there wasn't a post on Friday, I always hate it when I miss a review, but I couldn't think straight and I just needed to get through the day.

With Jason sick the weekend was relatively restful. Still saw friends and family, which was nice, and also started planning a short trip to Vegas at the start of June. Just a heads up, I likely won't be posting on June 7th. I'm really nervous about going, but I think part of that is because I haven't left the state for more than a day in over 10 years. That sounds really sad, I know, but I haven't. We went to Oregon last year for a weekend, but we left on a Saturday and came back Sunday, and while this trip will only be adding one more day, I think the distance is what's throwing me into a panic because it's not like I could just come home in a few short hours. I mean, technically I could, but that would also involve going through an airport and I don't think any of those hours could be considered 'short' at that point. Hopefully the time-off possibilities that have fallen into my lap will all be working on when I go to work today.

I am still editing 'Rending the Seal' it is a slow process, but it has to be since it's the first draft edit. I need to carefully read each sentence and determine whether or not I like how it flows or if it's even necessary. Let me tell you each and every page has a lot of pink on it. That's good though, even if it means I'm really not looking forward to edit part 2, 3 and beyond. I will get this story completed finished this year though, and is the plan/goal. Once that's completed 'Daughter of the Shackled King' will be thrown into the computer the rest of the way and I can get back to completing 'Through the Broken Mirror', though I may just use that one for NaNoWriMo again, that seems to work out fairly well. If I get to do it this year...I discovered on Wednesday there is a game coming out on November 1st, but because it's not as wrist-intensive as Persona 4, I might be ok...maybe...

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I'll be back on Wednesday barring any further craziness in my life. I hope the week is nice to you all though in the meantime and I hope to see you all back here. Have a great week!

Monday, May 13, 2013

05/13/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hi everyone! I hope your weekend was lots of fun. Mine was entertaining, but right now all my thoughts are on Wednesday. Not just because I have that day off, but more because it's my Star Trek day! I managed to get tickets for the sneak preview and I am stupidly excited for it! Also, as a heads up, Wednesday there won't be a post up, because as much as I'd like to celebrate hitting that milestone here, I also have to take one of the cats to the vet that day early in the morning, and I have no idea how long that will take.

Instead I'll just preemptively celebrate now! I'm really excited that it's gotten so far here. At first I had thought the blog would be something I'd do until I was tired of it, which usually gives me a good few months before something distracts me or what have you. However, that hasn't happened here, and I am really thankful for all the support I've gotten, and the acceptance during times where there's no posts (like last December). Thanks so much and I'm interested to see when we'll get to that next 1000 marker.

Yesterday was also Mother's Day, so for all of the mothers who stop by here I just want to thank them and tell them how awesome they are. They've managed to do something that I haven't, and frankly am terrified to ever do, not to mention my own mother still puts up with me and all my various elements of crazy. You're all awesome, never forget that.

Also, as an update, I'm still working on scanning all of those cards in. It's just a process, and one I need to make time to do. I will be getting it done soon though, mostly because I got the 'you're trial period is running out soon' message from Adobe. I'll keep posting them as I get them done, and if there are any I have missed, just go check out my Deviant Art Page and see what's there.

For now though I hope everyone has a great start to their week. I am sleepy, but will hopefully be able to push through. Working the longer day since I work this Saturday is always a killer because while I wake up at the same time, being at work for that extra hour is apparently a little but more than I can take. Thanks again for all your constant support as well! I'll see you later on this week!

Friday, May 10, 2013

05/10/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Good day everyone! It's Friday, which means we actually made it through the week! I know it was a little rough at points, but everyone should be satisfied right now. I'm mostly awake, which is a decent sign all things considering, so before that changes let's actually get to the reason you're all here.

Today I look at 'Supertech' by Greta van der Rol. As you may have guessed, it's a science fiction short story about a woman named Morgan, who is also what's known as a Supertech. She has implants that enhance her cognitive skills and also allow to her to interface directly with a network system. From what I can tell she's somewhere being considered property and a person to the military.

It's been six weeks since she was put on her most recent assignment, though she was also convinced it had been months before the time had actually been pointed out to her. The jobs she'd been given were menial and boring, however while the new one is fascinating and exciting, the more she works on it, the more Morgan starts to worry about what she's seeing. Her commanding officer doesn't seem to agree with her concerns, however it's up to her to either change his mind or get to the bottom of it herself, the only problem that could end up being a risk for more than just her.

I picked this story because frankly who doesn't like a conspiracy plot now and then. Morgan is interesting too, so that means the reader can be engaged the whole time rather than just skim through until the end. You become attached to her, and you hope that either she finds a way to fix the problem, or is listened to so that someone else can take the worry away. This is always important for your protagonist to have.

'Supertech' is available for free on Smashwords, and the subtitle says 'A Morgan Selwood Story' so I don't know if that was put there was stylistic reasons or if there are more to come. Also, the author was also the cover designer, which that is more than I could ever do with a computer, so good job to that as well.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I think if we do as well as we did this week next week that we should get to that new milestone for visits. I really do appreciate all the support that this blog has gotten, and I hope that it continues for as long as I'm able to keep it up. For now I hope you all have a really fun weekend though, have a great day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

05/08/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Good day everyone! The week has reached it half-way point and while I have tiredly stumbled through it so far, I'm...actually sure that's what the rest is going to look like too. Let's hear it for needlessly early training orientations tomorrow! Hopefully you are at least somewhat more awake than I am, and if you are, please ignore anything that might not make a whole lot of sense. When I'm sleepy, I like it when people are nice to me.

When we had that craft fair a few weeks ago at work, I was asked a lot about the people in the cards I'd made, and when I would tell them that they are all the characters from my book series there would be a moment of polite nodding followed by a double-take when they realized I said 'writing' and not 'reading'. That was usually followed by questions about my process and what the stories are about, and I realized that I am still not prepared to answer these questions. So I thought I'd bring it up today.

Now you might think that explaining what your story is about would be simple, but it's not. For one you have no idea what the person you're explaining it to is interested in, genre-wise, and also what sort of knowledge they have regarding whatever subject you picked. Or maybe it's just me who has that amount of awkward panic-thinking, but it's still true. The moment I realized that I wouldn't be able to logically let my mother beta-read 'Daughter of the Shackled King' I started wondering who the crap is going to do it, because there are a lot of mythological references that I know, and she admits that, she doesn't know about. So when complete strangers asked me what happens throughout my entire series I have to sit there and mentally script out what I'm going to tell them and hope that it keeps it both interesting, easy to follow, and doesn't give away too much.

Having someone ask me what my writing process is was even worse, because quite honestly that wasn't something I had put any actual analytical thought into before that moment. They wanted to know how I came up with the idea, how my story-boarding worked, how I made time to write it all, how I came up with the characters, and so forth, and for some reason I was convinced I was going to give the wrong answer. Logically there isn't one because everyone's process is completely different, and I say whatever works best for you, go for it because it's being awesome. The thing is telling someone, especially if you are on some sort of, oh let's say migraine medication, at the time and your brain is in 6 different directions already, and making it make sense is incredibly hard. The person that you're talking to might not realize how hard of a question this is to answer, because frankly unless the person you're talking to is another author, they honestly don't know how you do it. Writing is a process that is a mystery to anyone who hasn't done it, and sometimes even to those that have attempted. So, even if you think you're giving a strange and possibly incoherent answer, so that person you've told them the secret to finding buried treasure.

Maybe you all have great answers prepped, but for the generally socially awkward talking about themselves is really hard and also really scary. Just remember that the people asking the questions are genuinely interested and if you tell them that you haven't really thought about something, or aren't sure how to answer, or that the answer is hard to explain they aren't going to be mad at you. They'll understand because everyone has something that makes them freeze up. Hopefully they'll be supportive and keep talking to you with great interest and want to know more. This will end up being your audience, so grab onto them and hopefully make friends.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I'll return on Friday, barring some strange apocalypse, and even then I might still come back and post pictures. Please stop by then and in the meantime I hope everyone has a great rest of their week.

Monday, May 6, 2013

05/06/2013 Magnificent Monday!

Hi everyone! I hope your weekend went rather well. I did everything in my power to make mine as relaxing as possible. Yesterday was especially nice in that I did close to nothing productive all day. Sometimes you just need a day like that to really let yourself unwind.

Something that making those cards has gotten me to do, aside from focus on great patience, is motivated me to do more actual practice with my drawing. Not to say that doodling all the time isn't really good practice, but practice working with new techniques and things that are normally really difficult for me. It's been a lot of fun and it's neat seeing the fruits of my labors.

One thing that's always been a difficult thing for me to do is accept praise. It's really awkward, mostly because I'm not used to the attention that it brings. I can handle someone giving me criticism about what I need to work on better than I can someone telling me I did a good job. Like most socially based things I've been trying to get better about this too, it's just been a really big up-hill battle against the self-esteem that I do have.

On that note, please go check out my Deviant Art Page for the prints that I've been made for the cards. They aren't all uploaded yet, but they should be hopefully soon. The way I need to handle the prints does make them take a little bit to be available (since I need to resize the image in all of the print options) but they will be there. Also, as a reminder I do not set the price for them, so please no comments about how expensive some of them are; not my fault, blame DA for that.

I hope you will all come back here on Wednesday. I noticed that we're getting close to the 6000 visits mark. I know that seems a bit silly after it's been 2 years or more since I started doing this thing, but I am really happy that it's gone on for that long. In the meantime I hope you all have a fun start to your week and I'll see you back on Wednesday!

Friday, May 3, 2013

05/03/2013 Fantastic Friday!

Welcome back everyone! We made it through the weekly mostly unscathed. I'm really excited for today, so I know that means my work-day is going to drag on like no one's business. For now though let's get right to the reason you came here!

Today I look at 'The Invisible Hand' by Keith Oakden-Rayner. In the future everything a person does is guided with the help of what's called an exo-suit. Literally everything from walking to holding someone's hand is assisted with perfection by the suit, and not wearing one is seen as criminal. With such a large dependance on them though, Silas is someone who has managed to see both sides of the world, and now he's having doubts about the one he's in.

Silas has seen a sliver of the world that doesn't use an exo-suit for living assistance, and even if he made so many mistakes, it's simply the chance to make them that has caused a rift in his beliefs. The plan had been to tell his girlfriend Alice everything, but that was during out to be more difficult than actually eating. Silas must struggle to find the right words to tell her what he did, even though her own opinion about people who don't use an exo-suit is not favorable. There's so much risk and Silas must weigh his options before deciding what to say to her.

'The Invisible Hand' is available for free on Smashwords, and I'm curious to know if this is a preview to a much larger story or if it is complete. I can see where it can easily end, but also where there could be more to go on. Check it out for yourselves and I'm sure the author would appreciate it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I'm looking forward to what will hopefully be a very relaxing weekend. After last week I seriously need one. I'll be back on Monday so I hope you are all here to check it out. For now enjoy your weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

05/01/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hello everyone! We've made it through another month relatively unharmed. Yay! Today marks the first of May, and while the weather is great, depending on where you're at I hope you're safe. My area likes to be an over-achiever during such times, so please if you live in the greater Seattle area, or are planning on going downtown today, please reschedule. Knowing our luck it will be absolutely ridiculous today.

Let's distract ourselves from those more darker topics though and think about something fun, like writing and things like that. I'm actually going to touch on a somewhat delicate subject today, and it's more delicate in the sense of a lot of people don't think highly of it rather than controversial. No, what I wanted to take a look at today was the idea of fan written stories, or fanfiction. I'll give you all a moment to stop either reeling or laughing before I continue.

Now that we're done with that, the reason I wanted to bring it up because aside from being questionably copy write infringing, has touched on that subject before and it was actually quite interesting, fanfiction does have something it's actually very good at, and that is giving authors something to practice with. Let's say there is a particular genre you know you aren't the greatest at and you want to work on it, but the idea of making up entire characters/backstories/world-building and such for that is not helping motivate you. Fanfiction gives you a medium to do that with fairly easily, since all of that has already been established for you. Sure there are a lot of people who believe it is the lowest form of writing because of that fact, but there are a lot of people who write it for the purpose of practicing, not for novel-writing.

I'm not say there aren't scary things in fanfiction, because there are. Lots of them. Terrifying things. I won't go into them here, but there's a reason my friends and I joke about it. The point I'm trying to make is that if you do decide to use that as one of your mediums, don't be ashamed, especially if someone tells you that you should be. Tell them your reasons for it, and if it makes you happy then just smile as they look at you like you're crazy. Fanfiction is also a great 'gateway drug' into novel writing, in my opinion. You start with something that you really love and make something of your own from it, then you start putting in the characters you've made (this even includes the Mary Sue characters I hate so very much), and after that it's only a matter of time before the number of characters that are in the original source material compared to your own are dwindling. Once that happens it's just a few setting changes and POOF original work.

A lot of authors got their start writing fanfiction first or getting their inspiration from things like Dungeons and Dragons, which is why I will never knock it's value. I'll even admit that back in my day I wrote some, and also posted it on the internet (good luck finding it because I'm not telling you the pen name I used), and while I think it's silly I did it, I'll never say it wasn't good for me. The stories were long (to me at the time), character driven, and no one who read them could say that the reactions didn't seem realistic. Once in a great while I get an e-mail notification that they were 'favorited' by someone, and that gives me a little nostalgic feeling. If your goal is to eventually write a novel, and right now you're working on something like fanfiction or basing your story off your D&D game, keep at it, because that's where a lot of the greats started.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. I hope it treats you well and I will return on Friday with my normal review. I always hope they help the authors that I showcase even a little bit. For now though I hope you have a great rest of your week!