A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Monday, September 30, 2013

Random thoughts on a rainy Monday

This post is coming in a bit late, but I had a long day yesterday and didn't get a chance to get this written beforehand. I apologize if you're a faithful reader of my blog. If you've wandered in here by accident or by following a link someone shared, please understand I'm not usually this forgetful.

I could post a political rant. There's enough in the news these days to rant about, that's for sure. The government shut down here in the US, the Affordable Care Act (and boy, could I rant about that), all of the violence in Syria, possible talks between the US and Iran. As I said, there's been a lot I could rant about, or at least hold some kind of discourse on.

But I'm not going to. I don't see the point. People have far more eloquently addressed these situations then I ever could. I'm just going to say our Senators and Representatives are morons, the ACA is a good idea in some regards and a bad idea in others, Syria needs help without us getting physically involved in the conflict, and I'm all for more open conversations with countries in the Middle East if it means fewer conflicts.

Instead, what I want to talk to you about is reading. How often do you read? If you're like me, and I hope you are, you read a lot. I try to read at least one book a week. Sometimes it takes me longer if they're longer books or I don't have as much time to read as I'd like. For instance, I'm not even halfway through A Clash of Kings yet. But I also tend to read more than one book at a time, so I'm always in the process of finishing at least one book up if not multiple books.

Reading avidly is a hallmark of a great writer. You need to know what's out there before you can write it. Now I will admit, I don't read a lot of what hits the bookstore shelves. For me, it's all about the free books at Amazon. But I do go to the library and search for new books to see if they're there. Especially if they're interesting to me. That reminds me, I haven't been in a while. I think I'll have to go scope out the bookstore and then take a list to the library to see if they're there or if they can order them from another library for me.

Read, and read widely. Don't just read your genre. Read nonfiction, read other genres, read tech manuals if you are so inclined. Just read a lot. It'll help you. It really will.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fiction Friday - Meet Lordac

Since the vlog isn't going well, I thought I'd share a bit of the fiction I'm writing right now. Lordac is the Gray King in Vassa, a demi-god who wants to break free of his mother, the Goddess of Death.

Lordac sat back in his throne, his eyes half closed. All around him the moans of the damned echoed through the vaulted chamber. He sighed and shifted in his seat. A few of the liches pontificating before him paused but when he showed no other sign of moving, they resumed.

“My lord, forgive the intrusion.” The squat, toad-like creations his mother used for messengers were among the only living things in this realm and Lordac welcomed their appearance, even if it usually meant trouble for him. “Your mother is looking for you.”

“She knows where to find me. She's the one who put me here in the first place,” Lordac said. He sighed and straightened the iron crown on his brow. “All right, where is she?”

“In her garden,” the creature said.

“Where in her garden?” Lordac asked.

“By the roses,” the creature said.

“Which ones?” Lordac hated playing these games.

“The black ones,” the creature said.

“Well that narrows it down to only a quarter of the garden,” Lordac muttered. He stood up and stretched. “I'll be back as soon as my mother is finished with me this time.”

“If she lets you come back,” one of the liches muttered.

Lordac made note of which one had spoken. When he returned, he'd have to think of a suitable punishment for it. There was, after all, very little to amuse him in this sterile, dead world.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book review: Game of Thrones

I'm coming late to the party, but I've just started reading the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin. I tried once, a few years ago when A Game of Thrones first came out, to try to read it but I had a hard time dealing with the head hopping in the writing and I put it down.

I picked it back up after seeing a few episodes of the HBO series "A Game of Thrones". The series was interesting, but I didn't understand why the characters were doing what they were doing. I checked A Game of Thrones out from the library but I had to return it before I finished it. Later, I found four of the books at the local used bookstore so I bought them. I've finished A Game of Thrones and I've now started A Clash of Kings.

I found it hard to follow the book in the beginning. It was the same problem I'd had with it when I first tried to read it a few years ago. The head hopping was very distracting and I had a hard time following along with the story when he kept switching between people and places. As I continued reading this time, instead of giving up after the first few chapters, I grew invested in the characters. I wanted to know more about what was going to happen to them, what their world was like, what their fates were going to be.

My two favorite characters are Daenarys Targaryen and Arya Stark. As you progress through the books, their stories become more interesting. But I found myself looking forward to Daenarys' chapters in A Game of Thrones.

The writing was well done. Once I got into it I was transported into the characters' world. It got a little long winded in places but for a book the size of this one that's to be expected. I found I didn't care as much for certain characters as I did for others. I will admit I skimmed the chapters of the ones I didn't care about. I read enough to know what was going on and then I moved on.

The book was well written, the story for the most part is engaging, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Authors Welcome - Book reviews on my blog

(Image taken from here)

I stopped doing book reviews because of the kerfuffle on Goodreads and Amazon where authors and fans flamed each other for their reviews. It's not that I don't want to review the books I've read. It's that I'm afraid of being flamed for my reviews.

I don't know what started the most recent mess other than an author responded (poorly, from my understanding) to a review and a flame war started. I think it's ridiculous. Personally, as I rethink my position on book reviews (hey, I've got over 100 books to review via my Kindle app that were free for a time on Amazon as well as the Song of Ice and Fire books) I want to make things very clear as to what I expect from visitors to my blog.

1. Be polite. If your opinion differs from mine, that's fine. Don't come up and tell me "Nuh uh, you're wrong!" and then whine like a little baby. Explain why you think I'm wrong. Share your opinions with me. I am always open to discussions on my blog.

2. No name calling. This should go with be polite, but I'm reiterating it here. Don't call me, fellow commenters, or authors names. Don't badmouth the author just because you've got some kind of grudge against them.

3. No flaming. Again, part of being polite but really, should I even have to write these rules? Aren't they all common sense? Don't feed the trolls. Inevitably there are going to be those who disregard the rules. Ignore them and go on with your own discourse.

Keep things civil, even if you disagree, and things will work out very well. My opinions on the books are my own and in no way, shape, or form reflect my opinion of the author. It is based solely on the writing and the story only.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Minor characters

I was skimming through the Writer's Digest website and I found two articles on minor characters. You can read the articles here and here. I have a bad tendency to vomit minor characters onto the page in my stories and then expect you to remember who everyone is. I also used to have a habit of naming characters with similar sounding names so it was easy to confuse who I was talking about.

Minor characters are important. Unless your character is all alone and doesn't interact with anyone, you're going to have minor characters. Whether they're just walk ons and part of the scenery or someone your readers will need to remember depends on what exactly you want them to do.

Walk ons are just that. They're part of the scenery. A guard, a cook, a maid, a valet, a priest. All of these characters can share scenes with your main character, but they don't play a major role. A line of dialogue or just having them there as part of the scenery to give us an idea what the stage your main character is playing on looks like, these characters are so minor that they'll pass from your reader's mind fairly quickly.

Then there are the minor characters that your main character deals with on a more personal level. A parent, a lover, a husband, a wife, a child, a best friend, a traveling companion. Your main character's going to have more contact with them than a brief passing in the hall or casually noticing them in the room. They're going to be named with at least a minimal amount of description and a few lines of dialogue. These characters you can make stereotypical, or you can make them stand out and break the stereotypes to make them three dimensional characters in their own right.

Your character is going to interact with a plethora of people in your story. Make sure the people who are important are memorable and those that are just part of the setting are unremarkable. Don't pick names that have similar sounds or are the same number of syllables. Give those characters that your main character interacts with regularly some personality quirks so they seem like real people instead of cardboard cutouts.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Maundering - #Tagyoureit #bloghop

I was tagged by my lovely friend Joelle Casteel (WARNING: her blog is 18+ due to BDSM and other adult themes) to participate in the blog hop. Check out the link to see her answers to the questions. Here are mine.

1. What are you working on now?
A novella regarding the birth of one of my goddesses and three short stories that need to be rewritten, all of which I intend to self publish. The Birth of the Silver Lady, and Rescue, The Soldier and the Lady, and The Pigeon and the Fiddler all take place in my world of Aleran. Three are precursors to my novel Marked while the fourth takes place after the novel ends.

2. How does it differ from other books in its genre?
I haven't read too many stories about how a mortal woman becomes a goddess and ends up choosing those who will become her children, so I suppose that's one way the novella differs from the other books in the genre. As for the other three stories, they're about the struggles of a man and his family as they try to cope with their ever changing world.

3. Why do you write what you do?
I write what I want to read. I write fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, urban fantasy, and really bad poetry. Now I don't necessarily want to read really bad poetry, but it sometimes helps me frame my thoughts if I restrict myself to the limitations of poetry. I love world building and delving into the lives and cultures of those characters who tell me their stories.

4. How does your writing process work?
*laughs* My writing process is chaos. I write stories, and then I go back and rewrite them. I scrap them and start over. I write multiple variations of the same story over and over again until I find the one I like. I make copious notes on the world, and then change my mind and update them as I go. I don't seem to be able to pin myself down to one idea. I finish a story and immediately want to rewrite it because it isn't perfect. Hence the reason I always have more than one WIP. I'm always writing something.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday 'fess up - It's been a week

It's been a week, that's for sure.

I finally made a breakthrough on both of the stories I'm working on. I realized what was wrong with Rescue and with Birth of the Silver Lady. I'm hoping to have BotSL ready for publication around Christmas and Rescue in January. The other two to follow shortly after them, assuming I can find beta readers and critique partners to review the stories for me. I don't want to put out something that isn't polished to its finest. If you're interested in beta reading/critiquing leave a comment, message me on Facebook, or @ me on Twitter and let me know.

Thursday night I had another seizure and managed to give myself a concussion. I lost most of Thursday and managed to irritate Himself because of my insistence that we go to the emergency room. But it was a good thing we did. Knowing me, I'd have neglected to inform the necessary people until months from now that I had another seizure and by that point I could have had at least one other seizure, possibly more. By going to the ER they've increased my anti-seizure meds again and this time I have high hopes that it will work and keep me seizure free.

Himself is still working away on several projects. It's keeping him busy and though it leads to some cranky moments he's having a good time and that's what's important to me. He has high hopes that this business venture will finally pay off and some of the problems we've had in the past will disappear as a more steady and stable income will be provided for the family.

I'm reading a lot more now. I've finished Game of Thrones and I've moved on to Clash of Kings. It's definitely gotten a little easier to read now that I'm used to the head hopping. Though I will admit that the two characters I care most about are Arya Stark and Daenerys Targaryen. And I'm fairly sure I spelled that wrong. Arya fascinates me because of how strong she is for a 10 year old girl. And Daenerys has baby dragons. Who wouldn't love baby dragons?

I'm changing up the blog again. I realized that it's getting harder for me to write well thought out posts because I'm always scrambling to come up with ideas and the quality of my blog posts has been suffering. So I'm dropping down to three days a week. Monday will be my usual rambling on any subject that interests me. Wednesday will still be my posts on writing. Some will be informational. Others will be me putting up random snippets for your entertainment and possibly your help. Friday is vlog day and I'll post my vlog and some random music videos for you to enjoy. That way I'm not inundating everyone with badly written blog posts and I can get back to spending more of my time working on my WIPs.

My goal is to have the rewrites of Birth of the Silver Lady, Rescue, The Soldier and the Lady, and The Pigeon and the Fiddler finished by the end of September. That means I'm going to have to get cracking and quit goofing off but that's my goal. I at least want BotSL and Rescue done for sure.

That's it for this week. This will be the last Sunday 'fess up for a while, until I get things figured out. So keep an eye out for the new blog content and schedule. Thanks for sticking with me and I look forward to reading your comments on all things that I write.

Here's a vlog post (yes, I know it's been a while). Also, some music videos for your enjoyment.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Saturday Story Building - 1st Person POV

A first person narrative puts you directly into the story, by utilizing the memories and perceptions of the narrator. The narrator can be the main character in the story, or an observer watching things play out with the true main characters. However it is done, first person narrative must be done well or it can ruin a good story.

A first person narrator must have their own voice. It must be an individual voice, differing from your own. You need to immerse yourself in the character to capture their attitude, their mannerisms, their thoughts and their memories. They are unreliable narrators in the fact that we only get to see their side of things. Their memories may be faulty, their thoughts narrow and close minded, but we live and breathe through them.

You have to maintain a balance in your narration. If the narrator becomes too emotional, they run the risk of being melodramatic; too graphic and it's too intense; too cold and calculated they become too distant. Think of how Watson narrated Sherlock Holmes' adventures. Where we might have despised Holmes for his calculated thinking and his unemotional state, we can admire the man and welcome the logic with which he solved his cases while still seeing the human side of him through the more emotional Dr. Watson.

One of the problems with first person POV is the distance in time from the events. Usually your narrator is telling the story from some distance, as the events are in the past. But distance in time can lead to faulty memories and the story becomes skewed as the narrator tells things from their unreliable thoughts.

If you're going to make your narrator unreliable and a liar, show us. Let us catch them in a lie. If you're going to make them cruel, don't tell us. Show us. Let us see how they justify their actions. If you're going to have them do something heroic, make it so they don't realize how heroic they're being. If they boast about it, it makes them distinctively unlikable.

A really good example of the first person narration that I've personally read is the Hunger Games trilogy. Our focus narrows to Katniss and her world. Her thoughts, her emotions, her beliefs color our perception of the world. Her sensory descriptions help us live through her eyes.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - Lifestyle choices

I was talking to Joelle the other day and she was feeling a little frustrated. She is a lifestyle submissive in a BDSM relationship. She shared with me a post she and another kinkster friend of hers (Desmond Ravenstone) wrote in response to someone's rather nasty comment about BDSM being the same as domestic violence. All three of us are members of the Unitarian Universalist church, which is mentioned here in their response.

 Have you ever spoken to someone for whom being a member of the BDSM community is an integral part of their identity? Personally, I can tell you that is not a game to me. I live very consensually in a power exchange relationship. I think about, write about, talk about my life as a lifestyle submissive constantly. It offends me that I feel unwelcome to discuss the most important relationship in my life in many UU circles. 
The real dichotomy here is around the insistence that sex ought to be private. Privacy is something determined by the individual, but you seem to be insisting that, for certain people, it ought to be imposed upon from the outside. Heterosexuals have the privilege of saying who they are dating and married to, how they refer to them, and if they are single whether they attend singles events or go to singles bars. Gays, lesbians and bisexuals are just beginning to enjoy this same privilege. But kinky people? Not quite. Somehow just saying you’re kinky, or that you know anything about kink, is too often equated with disclosing every possible detail of one’s sex life, just as coming out GLB frequently led to accusations of “flaunting”.
As for BDSM being violence or “simulated violence” … There’s not enough space for me to go into any details about technique and psychology, but comparing what we do to domestic or sexual violence is like comparing aikido to a barroom brawl. What we do is highly controlled, and done for mutual pleasure, whereas violence is hardly controlled and done to destroy. Even so-called “humiliation play” is done within very specific limits proscribed by the submissive/bottom partner.
If BDSM, kink and/or fetish sexuality is not for you, then fine – go about your life, just as we wish to go about ours. But when kinksters can be maliciously outed, slandered, discriminated against and denied pastoral care and spiritual community for our consensual approach to love and mutual pleasure, please don’t pretend that WE are the ones who violate rules about privacy or who victimize others.

Both Desmond and Joelle are part of Leather and Grace, a group that works within the UU community. They're best described in their own words. Check out their website for more information.
We are a network of fellowship for Unitarian Universalists involved in BDSM, kink and fetish sexuality.
We gather in mutual support, affirming our inherent worth and dignity, and encouraging one another in spiritual growth.
We gather to promote further understanding among all Unitarian Universalists of the diverse forms of adult consensual sexual expression, and the spirit of love and pleasure embodied within.
We gather to share the good news of Unitarian Universalism among all sexual minorities seeking justice, healing and joy.

 Why am I posting this? Because I believe that everyone, no matter who they are, has a right to make the lifestyle choices that fit their lives. Do I advocate violence against men and women? No. But BDSM isn't about violence. It's about an exchange of power. Yes, there are some physical manipulations that happen in BDSM, but it's all consensual and certain limits are imposed at the request of the submissive/bottom. Books like Fifty Shades of Grey give a horrible representation of what a BDSM/Domestic Discipline lifestyle is like. If you want to know more about BDSM, talk to someone who lives it. You can also read Joelle's blog (WARNING: her blog is not for the faint of heart or for those under 18) for some education on BDSM and some snippets from some of her stories, as she is a BDSM erotic romance writer.

Be open minded. Don't judge just because you don't understand. Educate yourself. People recoiled from the LGBTQI community in the beginning but now we're becoming more accepting of them. Let's grant that same respect and open minded inclusion of kinksters and fetishists. After all, to them, their lifestyle is part of who they are.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Writing Wednesday - Reasons why an agent may turn down your manuscript

I picked up the October issue of Writer's Digest and found a few interesting articles. One of the ones that caught my attention was an article titled "10 Reasons Agents Pass After Requesting Your Full Manuscript." It's written by agent Marie Lamba of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. She had a lot to say and some interesting points. I thought I'd share the highlights.

Reason #1: It's not what was promised.
Your query is a promise to the agent of the story you're trying to tell. When the story you send in doesn't match the query, you have problems. The fix is simple. Make sure your query accurately describes your novel.

Reason #2: It's wrong for the genre/audience.
Works that are clearly not actually a good fit for the intended market get rejected. Like when you write age inappropriate things into a mid-grade book or two thirds into a romance you suddenly throw in the paranormal. The fix is simple. Identify your readers and your genre, and study up to know what the marketplace standards are for your manuscript content and length.

Reason #3: The story lacks authenticity.
Your story must be smart and authentic enough to appeal strongly to the audience. Errors, false notes and lazy writing will only make the agent roll their eyes at you and pass on your manuscript. The fix is simple. Read widely. Do a lot of research. Don't just parrot what you find in travel guides or online documents. Open your eyes and your mind and put that into the manuscript.

Reason #4: The manuscript falls to pieces.
The beginning of the book is polished but the rest of the book falls flat. Agents will pass on manuscripts that aren't strong all the way through. The fix is simple. Polish the whole manuscript, not just the first three chapters.

Reason #5: It takes you too long to get on with it.
Your opening pages draw the reader in, but that's as far as you go. You take so long to get to the point that people lose interest and stop reading. The fix is simple. Figure out if you're starting the novel in the right place. Make an outline. Cut scenes that don't push the story forward.

Reason #6: The writing lacks confidence.
Too much description to make sure your readers understand the scene can really pull a story down. Instead of letting the main plotline do the job, the author stacks on more and more stuff. Overwriting can destroy a good story. The fix is simple. Find the large blocks of description and see how you can pare them down. Search for feel and felt. Show, don't tell, but keep the showing down to a minimum. Also, don't make your plotlines too complicated. Less can be more.

Reason #7: Too familiar.
Predictability is a killer. If an agent sees the twist coming well in advance then it's pretty obvious you're not going to keep their attention. Don't write your books as slightly altered copies of popular works. The fix is simple. Follow your own ideas. Make sure your novel stands apart.

Reason #8: You haven't made me care.
If an agent loses interest and starts skimming the pages, you're probably not going to get a deal out of it. If they put it down and aren't driven to pick it back up, that's another bad sign. An agent has to be invested in the story if you want to sell it. The fix is simple. Analyze your character's development. Make sure you're doing all you can to engage and keep your reader's attention.

Reason #9: Disappointing payoff.
If your payoff doesn't match the previous writing, your reader will feel cheated. If an agent finishes your manuscript thinking "That's it?", then it's probably going to be an automatic no. The fix is simple. Figure what is driving the story and look at the climactic moments. Make sure you answer the book's big question in a satisfying way.

Reason #10: It's just not strong enough.
Ms. Lamba says this is the hardest book for her to reject. The author's done so many things correctly but the book still doesn't scream at her to be published. Agents aren't looking for good books. They're looking for amazing books. If an agent doesn't feel confident in the manuscript, they're not going to be able to pitch and sell it to publishers. The fix is simple. Find your novel's strength. See if you can find a way for that strength to be heightened. If it's plot driven, make it more innovative. If it's character driven, make the character more memorable. Whatever makes your novel special and amazing, make the element even stronger as the book progresses.

She finishes with the advice that what one agent rejects another might accept. Don't revise after every rejection, but if you're getting constant rejections it's time to take a look at the story. As a published author as well as an agent, Ms. Lamba has the experience in the market that many of us hope to have.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Teaser - The Huntress

Another one of my WIPs. I'm trying my hand at Urban Fantasy on this one. Rachel is more than human, and less than thrilled to be an occult specialist for the OCU. Here's a brief snippet about her reaction to one being sent to her bar.

Rachel waited for an update patiently as she sat in rush hour traffic. About fifteen minutes and a whole two traffic lights later, Rachel finally gave up waiting patiently. “Well? Which KOS is it?”

“It's not a KOS exactly, but it isn't someone you're going to be happy about,” Mik said.

“Who is it?”

“It's one of Garrison's lap dogs,” Mik said. “He says he's looking for you in regards to a case.”

Rachel groaned. “Really? They can't go pester one of their other occult specialists?” Rachel was looked on in some circles as a specialist in some of the more obscure occult occurrences. Most of what she knew came from personal knowledge, and what wasn't personal came from books that her favorite New Age bookstore was unafraid to order for her. Her personal library was large and very eclectic.

“He's not giving details but I think Garrison wants to talk to you,” Mik said.

“I'll call Junior. Tell him he needs to answer his cell phone when it goes off,” Rachel said. She gave them a few minutes to tell her head bouncer and business partner to answer his phone. She set up the hands free unit at the next light. “Call Junior.” The voice recognition program processed her request and his phone started ringing.

“Red's Place,” Junior said, answering his phone on the third ring.

“How many times have I told you to answer the phone with the actual business name?” Rachel asked. “What's going on?”

“Hey Red. I'll answer my bloody phone however I want so quit bitching. And one of Garrison's men is here,” Junior said. “He's been acting weird all night so it took us cornering him to get him to finally tell me what the fuck was up. He's scared of me for some reason. I can't figure out why. He's not one we've seen before.”

“He's probably a sensitive. You know that bunch always ends up working for Garrison,” Rachel said. Captain Dominic Garrison was Rachel's personal annoyance. She'd encountered him at the bookstore and ended up in a conversation with him prior to knowing what his affiliation was. Garrison, as he'd sworn he preferred to be called, was the commander of the Occult Crimes Unit of the state police.

The occult was becoming recognized as a very real threat in their state. The governor had demanded a task force be set up with agents in every major city and every state police office should have contact with a central command unit. Since they lived in the capitol city, the OCU central office was located here.
Garrison was the commander of the entire OCU statewide. What made him the best candidate for the job, Rachel didn't know. He didn't volunteer the information and Rachel didn't ask. It was better not to ask anything with Garrison. You dealt with him and on his terms. Rachel challenged him in that regard on a regular basis, but they still had a reasonable working relationship.

“Tell the officer I'm stuck in traffic. Ask him real quick if I need to head to the office or if Garrison's coming to look for me,” Rachel said.

She heard muffled voices. “He says that Garrison's actually out at the crime scene. Do you have your I.D.?” Junior asked.

“I do. Where's the crime scene? I'll head straight there,” Rachel said.

“He says he's supposed to escort you,” Junior said. “He looks like a greenie, Red. You'd probably just better come here and get this over with.”

“All right,” Rachel said with a sigh. “I think I'll have a word with Garrison. He's supposed to call me, not send his people into my bar. It's bad for business.”

“How soon will you get here?” Junior asked.

“Your guess is as good as mine. I'm stuck in traffic,” Rachel said. “Is it urgent?”

“I think it is,” Junior said.

“Then I'll be there soon. I can't give you a set time because I have to find a good place to 'port,” Rachel said. “Just tell the kid I'm on my way.”

“All right. See you in a few.” Junior ended the call.

“Fuck. Mik, Gabby, find me a place where I can 'port please,” Rachel said.

“Right, Red,” Gabby said. Five minutes later, Gabby came back to her. “Just ahead. Get in the right lane. There's an empty alley. No security cameras and no homeless.”

“Right,” Rachel said. She glanced over her shoulders and saw she had just enough room to get over. She pulled into the right lane and then turned right when Gabby told her to. As soon as she was away from the main street, she stopped the car and turned it off. She closed her eyes and conjured a teleportation ring. As the ring contracted around the car the buildings in the alley wavered and vanished to be replaced by the half full staff parking lot for the Hudson Ave Bar and Grill, or as everyone seemed to call it, Red's Place.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Maundering - World Suicide Prevention Day (Warning: Discussion of Suicide)

I was going to talk about the conflict in Syria, but there are so many people who've said what I'm thinking on it better than I ever could so I think I'll avoid that bandwagon. Instead, let me talk to you about something that is even closer to my heart, something I only recently learned about but have been researching like crazy since I found out about it: World Suicide Prevention Day.

WSPD is on September 10th every year. It's a joint effort between the International Association of Suicide Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the World Federation for Mental Health. This is its 11th anniversary. This year's focus is on the stigma of talking about suicide as a barrier. Read the article through the link to better understand this event.

Suicide is not a joke. Nor is it, as I've heard some people say, the process of natural selection. Natural selection implies a predator taking out the weakest or sickest of the population. Suicide is for the most part self-inflicted and can be prevented by people paying attention and offering help where help is needed.

I've been suicidal before. I probably wouldn't be here if not for my family and friends. Four times in my life I've had the method, the means, and the will to do it. My depression, a mental illness that is as devastating in its own way at times as cancer, overwhelmed me and took its toll on my mental stability. My father prevented my first attempt. Himself has prevented two of the three remaining attempts. A friend prevented the third. All because they were paying attention and even if they didn't know the warning signs of suicidal tendencies, they knew something was wrong.

The most important thing I can say about suicide prevention is educate yourself. Learn what the signs of someone considering suicide are. There are some distinct signs that can be overlooked if you're not watching for them. Pay attention to your friends and family. If they're showing signs of depression, try to convince them to seek help. Not everyone is willing to admit they have a problem. I didn't want to accept my diagnosis for several years. It's only been within the last few years that I've accepted it and started looking for ways to control it.

Suicide is the final choice for those of us who feel we have no other reason for life. People who are abused, bullied, or suffer from mental illness are the most likely candidates for attempting to end their lives. We are the forgotten ones, the ones on the edge of society. We are the ones that people look down on, step on, or ignore. We are the ones crying for help that nobody hears. If they do hear, it's generally either too late or they don't pay attention.

Don't turn your back on the bullied. Don't ignore the abused. Don't shy away from the mentally ill. Noticing the problem is the first step in prevention. Step forward when no one else will and provide those who are suffering a lifeline. Sometimes it doesn't work, but sometimes just even a single person caring about them, a single person willing to step forward and show them that they have worth and value, sometimes that's all it takes to save a life.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday 'fess up - *sigh*

You may have noticed a lack of blog posts this week. That's because my computer contracted a malware that my anti-viruses couldn't kill so I pulled a nuke and pave on my computer. This means I had to download everything again. This includes drivers, Windows updates, and even Open Office so I could keep writing. Thankfully I had almost everything writing related backed up to Google Drive and Dropbox, so the only thing I was missing was the hastily written pathetic little outline/timeline for Cracked World. Nothing vital, and I can easily rewrite it.

This also means that I've been dealing with my computer shutting off at random times and rebooting as Windows downloads and installs "critical updates". I think it's finally done so I don't have to worry about it anymore, though I expect I'll have more updates to download as it usually takes several days to catch up to everything. I'm still using Windows 7, and I'm not looking forward to making the switch to Windows 8 when I (eventually, not in the immediate future) get a new laptop.

I'm focusing on getting my three interconnected short stories rewritten and polished. Then I'm going to format them. (That's going to be fun.) And then I'm going to publish them as e-books on Amazon and Smashwords. I don't know when they're going up so I'm not going to give a time frame now. I'll post more on it when I'm getting closer to being ready to publish. I hope that I can entice all of you to support me and buy copies of the e-books. If this goes well, I might do up a novella that I've written and put it up as well. We'll have to see.

I had a bout of insomnia on Thursday night, coupled with having a freaking huge ass spider run across my legs. I know this because the damn thing ran across my foot as I was working on one of the short stories. I figured since I couldn't sleep I might as well get some work done. I almost screamed out loud. The spider was fast but not as fast as I can be when confronted with something the size of a quarter, legs included. It made a satisfying pop, and then I buried him at sea (a.k.a. flushed it down the toilet). Ew.

Himself is working on his project. I can't say what it is, but it's a big one. We have high hopes for this one producing some ongoing work for his company. That would be a huge benefit and a relief to me as well. So fingers crossed for good things happening.

Lastly, I'll leave you with some music videos like I usually do. As things get better, look for my vlogs starting up again. I know you're all excited about that.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tuesday Teaser - Dark World

This is a scene out of a story I started writing but have as of yet not had a chance to finish it. I'm not sure where I'm going with this one but I plan on finishing it one of these days.

Niereth stood behind Aislinn, clinging to her friend. The man who'd propositioned the Kwarron girl was rubbing his hand. "She told you no. You refused to let her go," Aislinn said, a hint of a growl in her voice. "Keep your perv hands to yourself and go play with that pretty little whore you brought with you."
The man raised an eyebrow. "That 'whore' is my wife," he began.
Aislinn smirked. "No she's not. She's a paid escort who also delivers sexual favors after the parties are over. You're not married. You favor blondes, though you'll go for the non-human girls if they're available over the blondes. You've probably screwed every high paid non-human escort the Breathworks has to offer."
The man's eyes narrowed. "You're awfully rude, young lady."
"Not as rude as you are," Aislinn said. "I know who you are, I know what your proclivities are, and I'm telling you for the last time to back off my friend. She's a student at the university. Not one of your fuck bunnies."
The man turned and stalked off. "Ais, that's going to get us in trouble," Niereth said weakly.
"You'd rather I let him drag you off and rape you? Like he tried to do with Lil?" Aislinn rounded on Niereth. "By the stars, no wonder you left your homeworld, Ni. You’re hopeless as well as completely helpless. I’m done, Ni. I’m going home."
"Ais, you can't leave," Niereth said.
"Oh yes I can. You brought me because you knew I'd protect you from getting hurt. You also know I can tell which ones are the predators, which ones are prey, and which ones are in the middle," Aislinn said, dropping her voice so only Niereth would hear it. "Kuen is a predator. That asshole I just chased off is a predator. You're prey."
"And you? Are you one of those in the middle ground?" Niereth asked.

Aislinn laughed. "Oh good stars, no, Ni," she said. "I'm another predator. They all know it. They can feel it. They're just trying to figure out if I'm a predator after their prey, or if I'm just something that wandered into their territory and is on my way back out of it again.” Aislinn shook her head. “Stay or go, Ni. I’m out of here.”

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday Maundering - I've got nothing again

I have no clue what to write here today. I don't have anything I feel overly passionate about today so you're in for more music videos. These are some of my favorite songs off of YouTube.

Mordred's Lullaby - Heather Dale

March of Cambreadth - Heather Alexander

Frozen - Within Temptation

Monster - Skillet

The Promise - Krypteria

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday 'fess up - Not such good news after all

Hey everyone!

You know how last week I was so excited to go back to work, right? Well if you've read my blog post from Thursday you'll see that I'm not back at work like I wanted to be. I've had to quit my day job permanently because of my health. If you're really that curious, ask and I'll tell you privately. Otherwise I'm not going to talk about it anymore here.

Himself and I got into a discussion this week on how, now that he's bringing in a steadier income from his business, I've gotten into my old habit of "spend, spend, spend" again. He's right. I have. And that's proving troublesome because I can and will run us out of money. All the bills still get paid, but the rest of it is spent on frivolous things. That's partly because I want nice things and partly because of the bipolar. I need to work hard on stopping this habit before it leads us too much further down the road of ruin. We've already been there enough times in our lives. I don't want to visit that place again.

On the writing front, I'm slowly making my way through the timeline of major events in the world of Aleran. I realized, after a discussion with Himself, that I need to know the history of the world I'm writing in because events in the past will color the present of my characters. So I'm working on that. Then I'll work on the outline for Cracked World. Then I'll see about starting that one over again. I'm also polishing three of my short stories that are interconnected with the intent of self publishing them and getting them on Amazon and Smashwords for sale. We'll see how well that one goes.