Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lovely Contest!

Steph Su Reads, is giving away a LOT of pretty books, and the (international) contest closes tomorrow! You should go enter it here now!

Re-reading, I appear to have lied. It seems to close on the last day of FEBRUARY. I mourn.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why I Write.

I'm going to be DARING and put the picture on the other side today. That is how you can tell that I am thinking CREATIVELY. Also my judicious use of CAPS LOCK.

I am such an artist.

Look, over there! I got you some daleks. In a fetching setting. There's even pipes, and warning signs, and MYSTERIOUS canisters.

I am so considerate.


ANYWAYS. I was at work, thinking about writing, as one does. (What, you mean I was supposed to do what I was paid for? Surely you jest!) And I came to a REALIZATION about why I enjoy writing, and why this latest story has been so hard to get in the groove for. It's because I want to share my stories.

Before I started writing the stories down, I would just tell them, on long walks with my sister, (two or three hour walks.) I never actually finished any of those stories, a fact my sister holds against me to this day. And then I discovered my stories got better when I wrote them down- (for one thing they had endings,) and I decided that was the kind of story telling I wanted to do. I want to show people the crazy worlds in my head, and play with the what-ifs, and get them on the edge of their seats about what happens next!

Only thing is, I've gotten used to writing with alpha readers who send me back emails of LURVE, about how they like this character, (actually usually it's more like "I am in love and I just have to kidnap him and take him home. You don't mind right good!) and ooooh, that was a good line, and HAH, that was hilarious, and maaaybe you might want to work on that plot point, and Wait, it's over? I WANT MORE.

Those letters are very motivational to my writing. Only now my alpha readers are swamped with school, and not writing fangirly letters, and I'm questioning my place in this world. :P (Not a whole lot, and my severe leaning towards giving up writing is most likely fuelled by my current toothache, but there is QUESTIONING going on, okay? SOUL SEARCHING.) For example, if no one else reads my writing, do I like it enough, or think it's good enough, to write it anyways? I'll have to think about that one...

Which is to say I've written two paragraphs in the past two weeks. But tomorrow's a brand new day, wot? New things to work on, new thoughts to pursue! Huzzah!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Soul To Lose, Rachel Vincent

This was actually a free prequel novella, that I got online, here. ^_^ I'm all about the free books lately, I know.

Kaylee has always had "issues" with panic attacks. But she knows how to deal with them- leave the area- and it's never been a real issue. Until the day a fun afternoon of mall-shopping and plotting revenge on her rat of an ex-boyfriend goes badly awry. She has a public freakout, to the point that she can't stop screaming.

It's officially The Worst Day Ever.

Until she wakes up in the psychiatric ward of the hospital. Okay, the day just got worse...

This is intended to be a teaser for the "real stories" and I'd say it worked marvellously. I loved the portion in the psych ward, especially her snarky responses to the Doctor's questioning. *beams at the memory*

Nurse Nancy: “Have you had a bowel movement today?”
Me: “No comment.”
Nurse Nancy: “Do you still feel like hurting yourself?”
Me: “I never did. I’m really more of a self- pamperer.”

Dr. Nelson: “Do you have a medical history of obesity, asthma, seizures, cirrhosis, hepatitis, HIV, migraines, chronic pain, arthritis, or spinal problems?”
Me: “Are you serious?”
Dr. Nelson: “Do you have any family history of mental instability?”
Me: “Yes. My cousin thinks she’s twenty-one. My aunt thinks she’s eighteen. I’d call them both mentally unstable.”
Dr. Nelson: “Do you now, or have you ever, used or abused caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines, or opiates?”
Me: “Oh, yeah. All of it. What else am I supposed to do in study hall? In fact, I better get my stash back from your rent-a-cop when I check out of here.”

It seemed like her release from the hospital seemed curiously easy. An eccentricity of the american system? (And she didn't start screaming when Lydia was there at the end, so it means she comes back, yes? Please?) I want Lydia to come back because this character really wasn't explained, more than because I liked the character. I mean there was potential, for sure, but she was just introduced and then the story stopped! *pouts* I would really like it if the next story pursued the phych ward angle further, but the impression I get is that it will follow a teen-romance vein. But I suppose I'll have to read it, to find out. :D

I think the idea is really interesting, and very well done. I gave it three stars out of five.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Summoning, Kelley Armstrong

I read this book free online, which you can do for a limited time here! And seriously, do so. Then go buy it for real. It's good. ^_^

Chloe Saunders is a fifteen years old aspiring movie director, and relieved that her life is finally going right, for once in a long while. I mean, not that it's gone seriously BAD, not since her mom died, (being rich and moving a lot isn't precisely bad news, though it does make it hard to make friends,) but she was just tapped to be a possible director of a movie the film club is making, and this is a big thing when you're in an arts school. This- added to the fact that her dad has promised that she's going to stay in the arts school till she graduates- and the fact that maybe a boy just asked her out to the dance- makes it officially a good day, pretty much. She's even dyed some red streaks into her hair- and then she starts being attacked by the ghost of a disfigured custodian which only she can see. Cue waking up in the phych ward.

But Chloe isn't going to let a little thing like being sent to a group home get her down. She's going to be declared better, get out, and get ON with her life. After all, there's not anything really wrong with her in the first place! She's fine. Chloe is determinedly sensible, even when the rest of the kids in the group home turn out to be scarily unpredictable and untrustworthy, though friendly enough, some of them... and then a housemate is "sent to another hospital" and then appears on her bed in the night, with a make-the-bottom-fall-out-of-your-stomach-story about waking up on a metal table and then being unable to breathe, but she's here now, right? Oh yeah, Chloe is here because she thinks she can see ghosts... and then she starts hearing definite voices in the basement, which want her to open a door...

I really want to talk more about the tasty, delicious plot, but I'm not, cause I don't want to spoil it any more than I already have. ^_^ Because you really should read it.

I think it's clear that I love the plot. I've decided that I love the paranormal-gifts-taken-for-insanity trope, and this book presents it beautifully. But the characters are also, SO GOOD. There are no lazy stereotypes, every single character has reasons, quirks, and their own motivations. Like- Gah, and I can't talk about these either, for fear of spoilers!! (Man, this would make such a good movie. Plus, it's interracial!)

Okay, I'll talk about the characters JUST a little. *CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION* is a movie buff, which means *GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUN* is aware of all the character tropes which the reader is! This leads to some delicious moments when *GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUN* is saying that if *GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUN* saw this in a movie, of course it would be obvious what to do, only this isn't a movie, this is real life, and there are *PLOT RELATED EVENT* doesn't happen in real life! And *ALSO CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION* is so anti-social, and so loyal. And *STILL CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION* is so charming, and I deeply, deeply suspect it's only skin deep. And *CFYP* is so excited to be "special" that *GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUN* doesn't see the false signs, that *CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION* see *GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUN* only sees what *OFFICIAL GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUNS* tells the kids they see. Which leads to the question, is *CENSORED FOR YOUR PROTECTION* really seeing events correctly, or is *GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUN* actually crazy and really deserves to be heavily medicated in this group home? The answer, of course, is *PLOT RELATED EVENT*.

I'm getting better at the not-spoilering. :)

I gave it four stars out of five. The next book is in my amazon cart. Just go ahead and read it already. :D

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

~*Contains Spoilers*~
Ethan lives in Gatlin County, where no one ever leaves, no one ever arrives, and nothing ever happens. He's going to leave though. He's got a box full of college brochures and is all but counting down the days till he's free of the town. Two more years of high school and he's GONE.

But then he gets to school, and there's someone NEW! A girl, none the less. Interest is at a fever pitch until everyone finds out that she not only is weird and "not our kind" (She wears black nail polish and writes on her hands, For Example. GASPAGE,) she's also the niece of the town's resident Crazy-Old-Man-Who-Lives-In-A-Haunted-House. But Ethan thinks he kind might like strange girls named Lena who write on their hands and admit to liking books, plus she kinda has pretty black hair and green eyes and *Ethan stammers off incoherently*

Oh, and then strange things start happening around Lena, and Ethan starts having visions, and freaky dreams, and new people show up in town, (which right by its self is a new variety of freaky thing,) and Ethan and Lena spend time looking at eachother and blushing.

They're such DORKS about liking each other, I loved it. *beams at them* I loved when Lena tried to sit away from the mean girls and accidentally sat them in the make-out-zone of the theatre, I loved Ethan giving her a present on her birthday, I loved the picture of them poring over a book translating latin, and I just delighted in how they dealt with each other. *hugs them* And this is kinda a spoiler but I also appreciated that when they found that Lena might not have much time left with Ethan, they did not immediately jump in bed with each other. *appreciates*

And I loved the side characters. *looks at side characters*

Well actually I just loved Lena's relatives, and Link, and the ancient Sisters. Most everyone Mortal didn't do it for me. Sorry... I liked Amma at first! And then she brought out the bones and my interest fell through the floor. I just- don't find bones scary. I never have. They're Crunchy when you step on them and sometimes they're jointed but most of the time they're just weirdly shaped. And then she's suddenly a medium? *interest shrivels and dies* And I never liked Miriam, sorry. *cough* I DON"T KNOW WHY SHE JUST DIDN"T DO IT FOR ME. *wails* I REFUSE to be apologetic about not really being a fan of the cheerleaders and football team. REFUSE.

I also REFUSE to be apologetic about loving Link and Ridley, and lurving Link/Ridley. I SUPPORT THIS RELATIONSHIP TO CONTINUE.

So, yeah, most of the characters I either loved, or was tolerant of. (The Aunt who is a Palimpsest? I adore her. The Principle? Pawn and Puppet, I'll be in my bunk.) I just, didn't like the plot. *guilty admission*

Maybe I am not sufficiently versed in this genre.

Or my shiver-buttons are all not located in places like Bones and Mud and the Moon, which apparently are deeply wrought with fell significance. Perhaps I am just too northerly to understand a southern book.

I gave it three stars out of five. I will read the next one just in the hopes my questions are answered. And to see Ridley and Link hook up. *nods* And to see Lena and Ethan continue to blush at each other and be awesome.

I just don't understand....

Monday, January 18, 2010


Whew! This was an unexpectedly busy day. Apparently getting up at the ungodly hours of EIGHT (I'm sorry for my laziness, plz don't stone me, ) Only goes so far when one is called into work early, and then immediately after one is released from work one hurries off to dance class, with barely a pause to scarff down some food and discuss loan options with family members who are older and wiser.

I mean, I've barely been on the internet ALL DAY. I didn't even check BLOGS yet today.

*chorus of gasps is heard*

*Mostly from the voices in my head*

*but we all know and love them, right? Right?*

Oh, and I promised to update about my writing, didn't I? Silly me... ^_^ Making promises, and pledges, I really should stop that...

How IS that going? Well. It's not really. I keep getting distracted with all the books which are already written. (There are quite a few of those out there, as you may have heard. Some of them have dragons. o.O) But my family has noticed this, perhaps because I was loudly and publically bemoaning my lack of writing, and they suggested pointedly that I start getting up in the morning. So that I write in the, say, late a.m., instead of, say, early a.m. This is a terribly heretical suggestion, but it seams to make some kind of sense...

So that's what's going on in my witting life. Many shiny plans about getting up before the sun.

Okay, I'm an adult, I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. *wanders off, chanting little-engine-that-could-style*

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fire, Kristin Cashore

I started this book right before going to dance class, just to pass the time. I was just gonna read the first few pages...

I ended up reading it by flashlight in the front seat of the car, on the way to dance, and then back. And then I stayed up too late and was grumpy at work the next day. Moral of the story- this book is BAD for you, don't read it. ^_^ Jk jk, read it, just don't read it right before you're supposed to be some place where your mind is required.

This book is a companion to Graceling, and seemingly has a cross-over character. I'm hoping that more of the characters also appear in Bitterblue, which is now being written, for I loved the vividness of this, and I wish to see more of the people!

The book is fantasy, and is set in the Dells, which is a collection of Countries threading through a mountainous land. The mountains are important because in a lot of places they're pretty impassible, so people move through the tunnels THROUGH the mountains. Oh, and the other big difference between "our" world and theirs, is the existence of monsters. They look like normal creatures; bugs, raptors, horses, even humans, only they're fabulously coloured, and they have the power to influnce your mind. The simplest creatures (bugs, say) just influence humans to be in awe of their beauty as they eat you alive, but in the case of more complex creatures, such as Human Monsters, they are able to serve as puppet masters, directing humans any which way they want, for their own amusement. That was Fire's father's way. He served as an advisor to the throne, which he took as free rein to ruin the country, while enjoying every drug, woman and depraved indulgence he could think of.

He was killed a few (three?) years ago, and Fire, along with the rest of the kingdom, is dealing with a kingdom in shambles, trying to beat off the encroachments on every border. Against that political background, Fire is also dealing her her parentage. She's a human monster, which means that she has all the same powers as her father, but she doesn't WANT to be him.

Oh look, I've made this sound dry. Shame on me. It's NOT. Ms. Cashore somehoe manages to deal with torture, free will, ethics, patricide, ethics, parenthood, family, ethics, accepting someone who is different, ethics, trust issues, infidelity- and all wrapped up in a nice coating of adventure and romance. Not that it's preachy, but that the characters come up against these issues, and they think about them. I'm not even saying I agree with all the decisions the characters made- I'm not a fan of pre-marital sex, for instance- but I loved that the CONSEQUENCES of actions were considered, both before and after the action. LURVE.

Oh, and there was adventure. Political Intrege! Monster attack! Kidnapping! Escape! (The whole kidnapping was from inside the head of a really-messed-up-at-the-time character, so it was kinda dry, I will admit. Heard to get emotional resonance when the character is out the other side again of emotions, into that bubble of serenity inhabited while the world falls apart. It's a bit dry to read.) Oh, and romance. I LOVED the romance. I loved the BOY, in the romance. I loved that he had a kid! I loved that it was NOT love at first sight! I loved that he understood her wanting to have kids! I loved his snarky jokes! *sigh* I loved him and Fire together. I loved his temper. I loved- Ahem.

I should stop there, shouldn't I? (I really liked him. :D)

Again, while I don't necessarily agree with all the actions of the characters, I really appreciated that one of the side effects of having sex was mentioned. That is, y'know, pregnancy. It's true, kids, kissing leads to babies. I don't think I've ever read a book where pregnancy happened to often, or was such a big thing in the plot. :D In a lot of ways, this read like a modern story, which just happened to be set in a fantasy land. I mean, Free Love has definitely hit the Dells! And also there is no God. Which puts the ethics of war, and killing people, and loosing people, on a slightly different footing, when there is no soul, eh? I'm used to fantasy novels where a god or goddess takes a personal interest in the lives of the characters, which totally didn't happen here. It was INTERESTING.

Gah, I've made this sound so dull. It's not! It's not, I swear! I gave it four stars out of five! There's just a lot of THINKING going on! In the mids of the adventure.

SIGH. I need to re-write this review.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld

I read this one in a day, then loaned it to my 14 year old brother. He stumbled into the living room in the morning, blinking blearily, and demanded the next book. I was then forced to tell him that it was not written yet, which caused us both much sorrow. But we have pledged to wait for Behemoth, which we are already laying surmises about. "It's the eggs! The eggs!" "No, the Emperor!" "There are no fabs in Constantinople, it'll be smoky, right?" "Eggs!"

Which is to say that we enjoyed the book greatly.

I read the uglies/pretties/specials/extras series, by the same author, about a year ago. And I loved it. And a big part-that-I-loved of that series, I saw and loved in this first-book-of-a-series as well! (Those of you who have read both are staring at me and shaking your heads right now, and possibly quietly dialling the men in the little white coats. But I'm SERIOUSSSSS! *cough*) Anyways. Yes, there is a connector between a dystopian-future SciFi series featuring 16 - 18 year olds, and a Steampunk-WWI SciFi featuring 14 - 15 year olds. (Other than the SciFi thing and the teenager thing. Look, don't be so picky! I have a point with this, I promise! And the point is...) It's the world-building!

Truly phenomenal world building. I mean, jaw-dropping world-building, once you really think about it. A year later, I still use "happy-making" in conversation and -la as a pet-suffix. (Look, just read the Uglies series. You'll thank me, and then you'll understand.) Everything is thought out and gracefully used, from slang to hierarchies, and governments. It's just GOOD.

I am clearly marvellously coherent. I must talk frequently, or something.

But yes. World-building, FABULOUS. Okay, how many of you people know the story of world war one? Show of hands.... Right. I didn't really know the story of WWI until I was about fifteen, because I thought it was just a minor skirmish before WWII, and also there were no heroic children's stories about people in danger being smuggled to safety. (ACRONYM, you guys. That's, like. This is LITERALLY the book I tried to find by reading the entire historical fiction section in my library when I was fifteen. *incoherent flailing of joy*)

Ahem. Basic story of the Great War. WWI for Captain Dummy-Dumb. A minor Austrian-Hungarian noble is shot by rebels in Serbia, and the Austrian-Hungairian Empire declares war on Serbian in revenge. Then Russia springs to Serbia's aid, and Germany to Austria-Hungary's, and France to Russia's, and the British Empire (we're talking Sun-Never-Sets-On-The-British-Empire type of deal, a MAJOR world power) comes to the aid of France. Presto, the bloodiest war which we have stats on. I think 11% of all soldiers who went to war didn't come back, not counting wounds and PTSD. The USA joins the brawl several years later, when it gets tired of having its peaceful commercial traffic selling supplies and Iron to Britain sunk by German U-boats. And after having the better part of a generation decimated, the world crawls away to lick its wounds and have fun with prohibition, and learns not to make treaties which say "if you go to war I'll totally follow you, lol."

There's the history. Now for the ALTERNATE history. The period of time before the Great War was a time of spectacular scientific achievements. (Tis true in real life, too.) But as is their wont, certain countries and groups supported certain types of SCIENCE. The German/Austrian-Hungary block (Clankers) supported mechanical walkers and guns, and everybody else supported the fabrication of living weapons. (These people are the Darwinists.) There's an awesome map about it here. Um, it did strain my belief a little bit at the beginning, to think that that level of science would be possible without the level of, say, electricity that is available today. But I was enjoying the book too much, so I just hit the I-Belive button and went with it. And I'm glad I did. ^_^

Oh yeah, and there's a plot too. Gosh, I need to get these posts under control. TOO MUCH RAMBLING. Um, yes, Plot. Everybody is on the brink of war, but two kids in particular aren't really noticing it. One of these is Deryn Sharp, who is determined to enroll in the British Air Service. She wants to fly, despite the seemingly prohibitive fact that she's a girl. But a girl can fight and swear and spit with the best of them, Eh? Also, in a very different world, Prince Alek is learning tactics, fencing, languages and dignity from his tutors in Austria-Hungary. And then he's woken up in the middle of the night by his fencing instructor, to run away in a walking tank, and rumours and treason are flying everywhere, while on the other side of the world Deryn is getting blown away as she's strapped to a hydrogen-burping jellyfish.

I could go on about the plot, but really, it'd only spoil it for you. And you already want to read it, don't you? Let me say again. Tank. Which Walks On Legs. With Machine Guns. also. Flying Jellyfish Used For Free-Ballooning. Nuff said. I gave it five stars out of five.


P.S. It has pictures in. See above picture of living air ship? You want more, don't you? Yes you do. Go buy the book immediately, so you may own the pictures for your very own.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater

A highly unprofessional poll among my family members has decided that this is the prettiest cover ever. I will admit that when I was standing in front of the new-realease table, trying not to think about how I'd just spend my entire end-of-year-bonus on books, this one was just too pretty to resist. It's all *waves hands* textured and atmospheric and pretty.

I read this, and for the first hundred or so pages, I was going "Ahhh, it's Twilight again! Gahhh!!!. (Ms. Stiefvater, if you ever read this, I'm sorry for the comparison, which you must get WAY too much from stunned persons such as myself.) Then after said hundred pages, I had a realization, after which I had to make myself tea and braid my hair to cover my shame. Saying Shiver is like Twilight is like saying Nancy Drew and the Secret Of The Old Clock is like How Come The Best Clues Are Always In The Garbage. It's because they're The Same Genre. You know, Paranormal Romance?
  • Boy Meets Girl,
  • Magical Eyes happen as True Love Blossoms
  • it turns out Boy (usually the boy) is Not Exactly Human, (This is what makes it Paranormal,)
  • Girl (usually the girl) Doesn't Care,
  • Things Happen to Keep Them From Each Other,
  • FINIS.
That's just the basic plot of a romance, like a mystery follows the pattern of
  • Mysterious Things Happen,
  • Clues Are Found,
  • Police Are Involved,
  • Dramatic Showdown with Threat To Life,
  • Friendships/Romances are Threatened then Strengthened,
  • FINIS.
And it happens to be a genre I enjoy, but it's not one which possesses me in the same way in which stories where the main motivator is the THINGS WHICH HAPPEN, instead of the ROMANCES. It is entirely possible that this will change when I have experienced a romance of my own, but right now, the fact remains, it's just not my favourite genre.

And with that out of the way, on to the book its self! There is a pack of wolves which lives in the woods behind Grace's house. And despite having been dragged off her tire swing when a child and nearly mauled (it never really goes into too deep of detail about the extent of her injuries,) she's convinced that they are not dangerous. In fact, there's one wolf in particular who watches her, who she is slightly obsessed with. Him and his golden eyes.

But then as the book really gets started- one of the boys at her school turns up dead, to all evidence killed by the wolves. And suddenly no one is believing her when she says that they aren't dangerous, as the boy- who actually no one liked when he was alive- becomes a local saint and martyr. She becomes desperate to save her wolves, for purely instinctual reasons, and runs into the woods after a posse of men with guns.

And then she comes home to find a boy with golden eyes, bleeding at her front door. Named Sam.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away, so I won't go into detail about the plot, but as a reader, it felt like everything was cartwheeling out of Grace's control- and then she met Sam, and everything slowed down, steadied. It's very clear that for both of them they're grounded in each other, and to live without the other is like returning to grade ten at home after living on your own at university. And you're moving from colour to black and white. Also you're put on an all-unflavoured-tofu diet. And your curfew is seven PM. (Teenage reaction: I'd rather DIE.)

I loved parts of the story, like the inclusion of the fact that werewolves' changes are related to temperature, and Isobel's loyalty to her brother. And Oliva, I wished to see more of. And the overall THING THAT HAPPENED to keep Sam and Grace apart, I thought it was wonderfully clever and urgent, and made me turn up the heat just in case. There was just too much focus on the magic eyes and kissing for me to be able to honestly say I loved the book. I gave it three stars out of five. However, I hear there is going to be a sequel or few, and I'm definitely going to be picking it up!

(I think one of the reasons Sam didn't really do it for me, is that he's an Angst Muffin. See here. I just like pastries and sandwiches better! Especially pastries. (Just read the essay, it'll make more sense then.))

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Public Service Announcement Under The Influence Of Too Much Sugar

*blink blink blink*

I- I- I won a book. I WON A BOOK. See?


I'm a little bouncy over that. JUST a little.

*takes a minute to run in small circles, gibbering excitedly*

I don't win things very often.


So, book-rant of that will be forthcoming. Also book rants of the EXCELLENT things which I have been reading lately, including a confession about twilight. *cough* And an update on the writing-which-is-not.

Wow, I haven't even eaten very much sugar today, and I'm still quivering. Oh, and also I've been trying to blog every day except sunday, (just to let myself have a day to rest. *is biblical*) but I don't think I can keep that up. I would enjoy it if this was solely a book blog, but I also have to write, and I can't keep up with a book a day, plus day job, plus writing, plus family-enforced sociableness. :D

So from now on, I PLEDGE to blog at least twice a week, with at least one book rant, and one update about the sorry state of my writing. That's all folks, I need to go finish Fire, and stake out the post office!

Friday, January 8, 2010

"I think "roundeye fairyboy." would be a pretty blink-worthy insult."

I meant to post yesterday, and then I didn't. *cough* Some I'm back-dating this post so that it looks as though I have a perfect record. I'm so sneakrative.

But I'm trying to go back to writing, after a post-nano and then christmas and then New Year's break. Oops. It's HARRRDDD. *whines*

(But also shiny.)

An well, back to the suck! I want to write a fist fight. This sounds like an excellent plan.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"All the right friends, in all the right places, so yeah, we're going down."

It's entirely possible that you've seen this already on Bahnree's blog, since we share most of our readership. ^_^ But I have to share it anyhow.

Is it not PRETTY? And doesn't the lead singer look like Wash? Admit it, he totally does. *takes a moment to heart Wash*

And I need a masked ball with electric organ in my book. NOW. I DEMAND masked ball. With spies and pick pockets and glowing instrumentation, and possibly assassination/assignation. I am not sure how this all works out, but it's finally unstuck the damned block in my plot.

I think I've decided moral ambiguity is lame, and the bad guys are bad. Probably. Or maybe this will show that my good guys are the bad guys. IS COMPLICATED. Anyhow, there are masks and reveals and begging, so it's all better now.

If you've read the above ranting, I salute you. You clearly need some serious therapy. Watch the pretty video again, you'll feel better. There are dancers!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top 10 Ways to Know You're A Writer

1. Your television is unplugged because you needed its extension cord for your laptop, three weeks ago.

2. You don’t notice your house is messy until you run out of food.

3. The tip of your middle finger is sore from using the scroll pad on your computer.

4. You don’t have time to blog because you’d rather write. (Alternatively, you don't have time to shower/sleep/study because you'd rather blog.)

5. You forget you’re eating dinner with your family because your mind is in the other reality witnessing an execution.

6. You go to your relatives’ weddings and funerals because your writing has taught you, despite #5 (see above), that those things are even more important than writing.

7. One of your dearest friends is another writer you’ve never met face to face, and she sends you cat pictures and bizzare links to make you laugh.

8. You start writing after your shower in the morning, stop for lunch, write, stop for dinner (see #5 above), and write again until bedtime.

9. You think a conversation about poison and explosives is perfectly normal and you've been known to start one with the words. "I killed him last week and he still keeps talking to me!"

10. When people tell you your book would make a great movie, you think having a good book is a better idea.

Stolen and then modified from Here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

GOALS AND OTHER SHINY THINGS (I lie, it's all goals)

So here it is, my New Years Goals post! Slightly late, but psh, who even notices calendars? NO ONE. In bullet form, because I'm lazy efficient like that.

(You know, the stuff which is supposed to comprise 50% of your day?)
  • Pay Off Debt. Preferably by the end of April. Then I go into the second trimester of the year FREE of financial burdens. Other than rent and books, and food. Minor things like that.
  • Keep Head Above Water With Job. This means keeping consciousness in-body while being paid for my presence. It's just polite, you know.
  • Get Out Of The House. Fresh air, keeping my metabolism moving, and oh yeah, exercise. (Also time to think about things, and get my consciousness out-of-body. Always fun.)
  • Waste Less Time On Computer. I could say use less time, but that would just be silly. How bout I make my time productive, mmmkay? That's better? That's do-able?
  • Read My Bible. This is always one I'm bad with, but I even have a plan! And people to bug me if I don't do it! Go me! Go us! High Five!

(The IMPORTANT 50% of your day! )<
(You smile because you think I'm joking. I'm not. Story is ALWAYS more important than food.)
  • Finish Karma Police. This means I have to 1.) write it, and 2.) figure out what on earth I'm writing. Case in point? I have to figure out who the bad guys are, if they know they're the bad guys, and if they die at the end. That's one of, uh, at least seven major plot threads I need to figure out and nail down. I suppose I should be writing more then?
  • At Least One Hard Edit On Karma Police. This means research, nailing down the voices of the characters, re-writing re-writing re-writing... I mean I'm pretty sure at least half the scenes I've written for part two are going to have to die, and I'm adding probably that many over again. A LOT of work, before it's even slightly coherent.
  • Hard-Edit Merchant's Daughter Fix the plot. I'm not even looking at the line edits, just tighten up the plot- till it's visible at least. Wow, that makes me despair just thinking about it.
  • And while we're on the theme of despair- Break Up And Outline Expendables.
  • Refine And Build a Coherent Platform On The Internet. So far I'm all over the place. I have different names in different places, and I was trying to keep my reading/writing self seperate from my "real" self, because I was scared/ashamed of that. NO MORE. This also means I should use my real name. Ulp.
  • Write Two Short Stories (Novellas?) At Least. I want to get the unicorn/greek/robot/poison/dust thing out of my head, and also the freaky untitled story with Elizabeth and Albert in it. My strange, strange, strange characters. That could be my most grown-up story yet, since they, y'know, have kids, and it could also fail entirely, it's so strange. Either way, it'll be one of those where you stop writing and feel like you've been staring at feathers for five days while living only on moldy cheese. (That's pure conjuncture on my part, of course)
  • Take A Fiction Class (?) Self Explanatory? But I'm not sure if I have the money/time, so it's a maybe.
  • Research Like Mad For the-novel-currently-known-as-J4. I really like this story, but it requires some explanation, especially if any of my family reads this. Some of you know that my little brother was diagnosed with cancer almost three years ago now. Over the course of that journey since then, I've witnessed a lot in some pretty exclusive circles. Due to circumstances I wasn't actually actively involved in most, but I've seen a lot. My Dad wrote music about it, but for me all the stories starting beating against each other inside my head and turning into a story. So a lot of the incidences which happen are based on things which happened in real life, they aren't intended to be a factual representation of those things which really happened, and in fact they end differently in a bunch of cases. And the characters are not supposed to be real life, any more than every angry girl I write is me, or I actually know any Ewan-type characters. Whew. But though I love this story dearly, it's set in a couple of circles which I've witnessed from the sidelines, but never actually moved in. So it'll need a lot of research on things like Child Protection Services, Cancer Treatment Regimens, and High Schools. ^_^
  • And this one at my family's insistence- Get Something Published. Even if I self-publish, they say I should get it out there. EEP.
There it is then! All my goals. :D

Monday, January 4, 2010

Night Train To Rigel, Timothy Zahn

I always get the impression when reading Zahn that the book showing in my head is in black and white, not colour. This is less connected to any actual mentions of colours in the story, and more to the from-another-era feel of the tale. This is not to say that the story is poorly done, any more than Casablanca or The Apartment are poor films. The pacing is just different!

Oh, and I always get the impression while reading that there is no way I will ever be able to make a plot like this. It's just SOOO complex. And there's no "leading the reader" along by the hand, these things are HARD to figure out, if you even do.

With this story, Frank Compton comes out of his apartment one day and finds a man who falls dead at his feet, in the best tradition of old-style mysteries. What makes the naturally interesting dead body even more interesting, however, is the fact that the body is carrying nothing other than a ticket on the Quadrail, in Frank's name- complete with accurate biometric info. Frank decides the dead body is a great reason to leave town now, and takes advantage of the ticket.

And soon he's recruited to help evert galactic war, carrying poison gas in his suitcase, traveling with a beautiful woman with a paralyzing fear of coral and friendships, and he keeps meeting travellers who are pretending to be drunk for no visible reason. (You fear the things done with no reason even more than the obvious ones, in this kind of showdown) (Also I can tell you all these things and they aren't even spoilers because they take place in like the first four chapters of the book. MANY THINGS HAPPEN.)

I must say that after reading so many romances lately, it was rather surprising for there to be no romance in this story. I kept expecting it to start growing, and it kept not. :D There was friendship, sacrificial friendship! But not romance. On the other hand, this is only the first book in a series, so perhaps it will grow in the other four books in the series! Which I now must add to my list of Books To Buy. Sigh. I gave it four stars out of five.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"In a little while/ it will be perfect/ I'll have a perfect style..."

I'm working on a New Year's resolution post, but basically I'm too lazy to finish it now. :D Aren't I honest? *preens self*

And also I keep being expected to be social, which apparently means playing cards, not watching movies like I always thought. HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO BLIND? *weeping*

Ah-hem. Anyhow, there was actually a coherent thought a thought which appeared coherent at two am this morning- motivating this post. Here goes!

Is it better, when writing, to have a firm sense of place in the story, or to be general, so a reader can place the story in their own location? I mean, obviously this only applies to a certain extent to High Fantasy, or Hard SF, (or any kind of SF,) but what about the almost-in-this-world genres of Urban Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, or even steampunk?

Is it better to be universal, or should one root the story in a location? The upside of rooting would be- as far as I can puzzle it- that the details of weather, vegetation, food and language make the story seem real-er, and exotic for the reader who doesn't live in the same area. I haven't actually read them, but I understand both Beautiful Creatures and The Demon's Lexicon are good examples of rooting a tale. And you know, the authors seem to be doing pretty well, and the books are pretty well respected. The upside of keeping things vague would be that nothing jars the reader, and if things are vague enough most everyone in the Western World can identify with the surroundings of the story, thereby putting themselves in the place of the characters. A notable example of this would be Twilight. Which sold a few copies, you know.

Or does it depend entirely on each individual story, how much you detail the surroundings? TALK TO ME, people. *smiles*

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hush, Hush, Becca Fitzpatrick

I'm still not sure what I think about the romance in this book. And I've been thinking about it for two weeks now. See, the plot is that due to a seat shuffle, Nora ends up being Biology partners with Patch, who no one knows anything about. Well, to be honest, they know a LITTLE, which is that he's new, and probably bad news. Nora's friend Vee thinks that she should totally take advantage of the biology pairing to study sexual behaviour (if you know what I mean and I think that you do,) but Nora is slightly freaked out by the bad boy.

She gets slightly more freaked out when he starts showing obvious interest. And by obvious, I mean the story happens to contain some great sketchy exchanges, including one of my all-time favourites.
(So he tells her she looks good, and then this happens.)
"You smell good too," said Patch.
"It's called a shower." I was staring straight ahead. When he didn't answer, I turned sideways. "Soap. Shampoo. Hot water."
"Naked. I know the drill."
And he takes her out to his dangerous haunts, and keeps being attentive and obviously interested, and against her better judgment she starts being interested back. Then basically it all goes to heck in a premium hand basket. Random pretty boys show up and stalking her, (and not in a Twilight, dawww-he-really-cares way, in a OMG-He's-Bigger-Than-Me-And-He-Knows-It-And-No-One-Else-Belives-Me-That-He's-Scary way.) Someone important is hospitalized for trying to protect Nora, and she might be going insane. Plus, Patch keeps not being trustworthy. But he really looks like he might be fun to kiss.... Not Trustworthy! Fun to Kiss! Not Trustworthy! Fun to MORE than kiss! He looks way too comfortable with that knife in his hand... Doesn't he look comfortable? If you know what I mean and I think you do. Etc, Etc. :D

I'm not sure if I like this romance or not, especially given some grand reveals which I will not tell you here! *gloats*Okay just a few. (Maybe he's being seductive because he has ulterior motives beyond a cheap hotel room, and maybe you keep feeling in danger for a reason? Just saying...)

It's a very fast read, and I can attest to the fact that it will serve in place of pain-killers for a moderate stomach ache. :D I'm not saying I loved it entirely. I have this thing with falling in love with the MMC, and despite my love of bad boys in fiction, Patch wasn't really my cup of tea. Not enough menace, or something? He's got some awesome lines though! Really Excellent sketchy lines. :D GJ Patch

I very much enjoyed reading it, but I did feel lost at the end. E.g. Wait, what happened? It's OVER? But, we were just in the middle of things! I hear that the sequel is being written, which I will definitely seek out and read. I found this FUN, but a little too much like Twilight for me to put it in my "faves" pile. The characters didn't set up residence in my head, which I would like them too! (I mean, Helloooo Patch. You need a place to stay?) :D I gave it three stars out of five.
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