A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Stuff

I know, I know.  Bad title.  But in my defense, I just had to remember the last 10 years of my work history and honestly...my brain is a little fried.

As most of you may (or may not) know, I work for one of the largest banks in the world in one of their many credit card divisions doing collections.  I hate it.  I hate it with a passion.  Especially since they made us go mixed inbound/outbound in April.  I was perfectly content to do the collections inbound only.  So now I'm job hunting so I can get out of that increasingly hostile work environment.  It's not going well - the job hunting, I mean - because our job market sucks unless I want to take a $3-$5 pay cut (i.e. go back to minimum wage).  I can barely afford my bills on what I make now.  That would be disastrous for us, so I'm stuck where I am until something better comes along.

Himself has discovered a love of all things digital, especially when it comes to 3D rendering and game design.  He's become quite adept at creating 3D figures through the various programs he uses.  So he's teaching himself all sorts of new programming languages, mathematics, and computer programs.  I'm ashamed to say when he starts getting really excited and in depth about his work, I glaze over because what he's saying goes right over my head.  A lot of what I have to say about being an author and the publishing market as it stands now does the same thing to him, so I guess we're equal on that.

The cat is...the cat.  He's annoying, furry, and demanding.  He's taken to climbing into my lap while I'm working and laying his head against my left arm.  He sits there purring until my typing gets on his nerves - which actually takes a while.  But once that happens, he starts sticking his claws in my arm to get me to quit typing.  He bats at my face and meows loudly.  He even nips at my nose or ear to get my attention.  About that point he gets dumped out of my lap.  But he's back again within a short time, doing the same thing.  Either that or he's sprawled on Himself's back or legs while Himself is lying on the bed.

I'm a little bummed right now, though.  Most of my family (my oldest sister and her husband, all three of their kids, their oldest daughter's three boys - she just had a baby last month - and most of the rest of my nieces and nephews) is in town to celebrate my niece giving birth to her youngest son.  But they're meeting for lunch tomorrow at 1 pm and I work from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm.  I've put in to get out of there as early as possible, but it all depends on the business need tomorrow.  If we're busy (which, with outbound is almost a given), I won't get out of there until 4.  So I'll miss seeing them since my niece and her family are leaving right after the lunch.  I've seen pictures of the baby on Facebook (he is so cute), but I'd like a chance to hold and cuddle him the way I got to his older brothers.  I tried to take Sunday off (4 day weekend FTW...only not), but with a waiting list upwards of 15 people ahead of me I knew the chances of me getting off were slim to none.  I'll just have to wait and see how tomorrow goes.

Worked on a couple different projects this week in regards to writing.  The first one is about my winged race of demi-humans and the war that surrounds a prophecy of theirs.  Established the prophecy and the alliance between one of the human factions and the winged people to eradicate the other human faction.  The geography of this particular continent is very strange, so it makes for some interesting logistical problems when declaring war on your neighbors.

The other is about a smart aleck (did I spell that right?) fae calling herself Meg and the trouble she gets into rescuing a fallen god/demi-god/divine being of some sort.  I have NO clue what this guy is yet, other than he's something powerful that got sent to Earth as a punishment and now he doesn't remember who he is/where he comes from/his true power, and she's geas-bound to help him because of an ancient oath she swore centuries ago.  Absolutely no idea where this one is going, but I'm having fun getting it there.  Meg's very refreshing after the months of work on my Aleran stuff.  She's definitely UF, maybe Para Rom.

I still have a lot of world building tweaks to do with Aleran, especially now that I've added the new continent for the winged people story (stories, maybe...depends on how far I go with them).  I figure I'll probably do something in regards to the world building this week.  Maybe.  If I don't get sucked further into Meg's world.  Because honestly?  I want to know which hunky deity she's hosting in her house.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A blog post? Really?

*cough, cough*

*sweeps aside cobwebs*

Wow.  Is this thing still here?

Hello everyone.  Thank you for staying with me during my rather long hiatus from blogging.  Between life, work, and the fact that I have no clue where I want to go with this blog I've sort of neglected it.  I still don't know where I want to go with it but I thought I'd at least dust it off and try to get a few posts in.

In the Real World, Himself is working on game design.  He's extremely happy with his decision, and I'm happy to support him with it.  Me?  I'm still working at the evil call center.  Looking for a new job but the job market sucks so that's going slowly too.  Not to mention I don't want to take a large pay cut just to switch jobs.  We can't afford that right now.

In the Imaginary World, aka my writing, things have been stalling there too.  I haven't been putting too much effort into it over the past couple months.  I've instead been reading a lot more.  I've picked up several of the free downloads off of Amazon for my Kindle and I've been reading a lot of self-pubbed and Indie pubbed books.  I have found a few gems, which I will happily share with you.  For the most part, they've just reinforced my desire to make sure the product I eventually put out there is as perfect as I can get it.

If I go traditional, this will be taken care of for me by the editors in the employ of the major publishing houses.  If I go the self-published or with a smaller press, I'll be hiring an editor to go over my work for me.  So many good stories have been ruined by too much prose, grammar and spelling errors, or just basically poor execution.  I intend to not be one of those authors.

This week, to kickstart the writing again, I decided to build the time line of events that goes from the creation of the world to "present day" in Aleran.  Holy crap was that a pain in the ass.  It doesn't help that at two points on my time line I have a LOT going on.  Now I didn't just do a basic time line of events.  I also added plot points and story notes at certain points on my time line.  Let me tell you, when you have three stories running concurrently at the same place on the time line it gets a little difficult to sort out what happens when.  But I managed it and the time line/plot point thingy is done.

I am once again revamping certain aspects of the world because they just weren't working, so I've got some world building to do.  I swear I'm never going to be done building Aleran, no matter how many books I write about it.  I've also got a new story that jumped up and bit me on the butt while I was doing the time line (which I sketched out brief character descriptions and a vague list of some of the plot points for that instead of working on my time line at one point) that I also want to get some work done on.  So it looks like the writing freeze is finally over.

Now, to share some of the gems I've pulled off of Amazon.

The first one is Alice in Deadland, by Mainak Dhar.  It's Alice in Wonderland meets zombies and a world domination seeking military.  This is not my normal read.  I wasn't even sure I really wanted to read it even after downloading it.  But I went ahead and got it and I was pleasantly surprised.  This was also one of the few books I paid for, since I got this with the gift card I got for Christmas when I got my Kindle.  The product description will do this book more justice than I could so here it is.

Civilization as we know it ended more than fifteen years ago, leaving as it's legacy barren wastelands called the Deadland and a new terror for the humans who survived- hordes of undead Biters. 

Fifteen year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the Deadland, her education consisting of how best to use guns and knives in the ongoing war for survival against the Biters. One day, Alice spots a Biter disappearing into a hole in the ground and follows it, in search of fabled underground Biter bases. 

What Alice discovers there propels her into an action-packed adventure that changes her life and that of all humans in the Deadland forever. An adventure where she learns the terrible conspiracy behind the ruin of humanity, the truth behind the origin of the Biters, and the prophecy the mysterious Biter Queen believes Alice is destined to fulfill. 

A prophecy based on the charred remains of the last book in the Deadland- a book called Alice in Wonderland.

Alice is not your ordinary teenager.  She goes through quite a metamorphosis as the book goes on.  She starts out a tough fighter but still generally naive about the larger picture in the world.  Through her experiences with the Biters and the military force known as Zeus, she learns that there is so much more at stake here than the lives of those in her settlement.  How she changes and what her choices ultimately lead her to make this a compelling read, if you like sci fi/horror.

I'll share one more of my new favorite books with you.  This one I did get for free and it's called Blood of the Righteous (The Ki Kalendeen Chronicles, Book 1), by J.E. Sandoval.  This one focuses on the fates of the three remaining children of the Ki Kalendeen family, whose entire family are killed by forces they don't yet understand for the purpose of allowing an evil king to conquer the lands outside of his kingdom's boundaries.  Here's the product description from Amazon.

Murder most foul! 
A noble lord is slaughtered in his manor. His three surviving children suddenly find themselves commoners. The oldest, Gabriel Ki Kalendeen, is a knight in service to the church who must balance his commitment to God with his responsibilities of his family. Eleenia, an independent minded healer, tries to make her way in a in a male dominated society in a profession that permits few females to enter. The roguish David, having survived the attack on his family, takes on a new identity, convinced that he is still a target. Together they struggle against society, their own deep character flaws, and the evil that secretly manipulates the world through intrigue, deception, lies, and murder. But the Sons of Perdition knew not what they did when they spilled the Blood of the Righteous!

One of the only nitpicks I have with this book is in the beginning they say David is fourteen but as I read the first part of the book, he seemed to be much younger - closer to ten rather than fourteen, especially in the medieval setting the author chose for the book.  But that aside, I loved how overprotective Gabriel is of Eleenia, which leads to conflict between the two of them on more than one occasion.  I love the colorful characters that are introduced, especially through David's POV.  This book is no longer free (it's $3.99 now).  Honestly, I'd still recommend it even at that price.

Link to buy Alice in Deadlands
Link to buy Blood of the Righteous

I'll share another couple of my favorites on my next blog post.  Which may be next weekend, or it may be later this week.  I don't know.  It'll be whenever I decide to do my next blog post.  :)

And remember...even if you don't have a Kindle, you can still read the e-books.
Kindle for PC
Kindle for Mac
Kindle for Android
Kindle for iPhone

(No, I'm not employed by Amazon.  I just like my Kindle and want to share.)