A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

An unpleasant introduction

Fiera doesn't care for people harassing her friends, so when a situation presents itself for her to stand up and protect one of them she meets someone who warns her about her instincts getting her into trouble.

 Fiera stayed close to Liliana. It was obvious the other woman was feeling just as uncomfortable as Fiera was. After about an hour, Fiera turned to tell Liliana that she was ready to leave. She was gone. Fiera started swearing as she back tracked along their path. She saw a knot of people and made her way over to see what was going on.
Liliana was trying to pull away from a young man. She was crying and struggling to free her hand. Fiera looked at him. There wasn't a flaw on his handsome face, though he did look a little irritated. Liliana was panicking. Fiera stepped up and grabbed hold of the man's wrist. She squeezed and twisted, forcing him to release Liliana.
“That was a mistake,” the young man said. “What I want I get.”
“She wasn't willing and I'm not going to let you rape my friend,” Fiera said. She gave a little push and released him, sending him back a few steps. “Now why don't you go play with the other genetic wastes that make up this party and leave her alone.”
“She's a Ward of the Planet. She doesn't have the same rights. Now why don't you run along and leave us alone?” He sneered down at Fiera, looming over her and attempting to look as threatening as possible.
Fiera put herself between him and Liliana. “She has the same rights as everyone else,” she said. “We're leaving. Get in our way and get hurt.”
“Do you have any idea who you're talking to?” the young man asked.
“Someone whose parents paid a fortune to perfect him,” Fiera said. “It'd be a pity to mess that up.”
“I am Kuen Nakano.” The young man peered down his elegant nose at her.
“I'm Fiera Rezouac,” Fiera said. “My name probably means as much to you as yours means to me.”
“I haven't heard that before,” Kuen said. “It's not a central world name is it?”
“No it's not,” Fiera said.
“What's a colonial ketch like you doing here?” Kuen asked.
“Attending university,” Fiera said. “You core worlders aren't the only ones with money and a desire to learn.”
“Well, a lesson for you then,” Kuen said. “Free of charge. Crossing me is very dangerous. It can lead to all sorts of problems.”
“Funny, I was going to say the same thing about messing with me,” Fiera said. “And with those who are under my protection.”
Kuen rubbed his wrist. “I won't forget this, or you,” he said.
“Good,” Fiera said. “I'd hate to have to remind you again the next time I see you.” She grabbed Liliana's hand and dragged her away from the gathering crowd.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Holidays and depression

So Christmas is behind us and the New Year approaches. I've thought about this past year and I realized I've had a serious problem with my depression. Not just the chemical imbalance that comes along with Bipolar, but the self-induced misery that people sometimes find themselves in.

I am not a cheerful person by nature. I tend to be very serious. There are times where I don't get a joke because I don't find it funny. Or I won't even understand it. Comedy is lost on me most of the time. Himself tries to keep me upbeat and happy with his silliness and along with talking me out of my depression when I can't seem to drag myself out of it. I don't know where I'd be without him.

Holidays are never a good time for me. There have been some major things that happened that just sucked the love of the holidays out of me. I don't just mean Christmas and New Year. I mean all holidays. My depression is really bad during those times.

But this Christmas something changed. I realized that I wanted some kind of thing to mark it. Not this year, because it would be very difficult to do what I wanted. I want a fake tree, maybe three or four feet high. Nothing too big. I want some simple decorations to go on it. And I want to be able to put a wrapped gift or two under it. Even if Himself knows what he's getting for Christmas, I want to have the thrill of opening them.

This will have to wait until we have a place of our own. But it's something I want to do. Also I need to get back into the habit of eating pickled fish on New Year's Eve. It's a family tradition that I've had to let go for the past couple years but I think I'll ask my dad to share a little of his since he got a big jar at Costco so I have a piece or two. Himself won't touch it, but that's okay. This is my tradition that comes from my family.

I was also very lonely over the holidays. I had Himself, but he spent Christmas playing video games. I didn't mind. I spent my day reading silly stories and writing to try to keep from sinking into depression. But I didn't get over to my dad's to see everyone for Christmas. My dad told me that was a good thing since the visits were spread out through the entire day, the last one ending around 10:30 pm. I can handle an hour or two over there but not much much more than that. We went over the day after Christmas.

I'm really whiny in this post, and I'm sorry. This has been a kind of stream of consciousness piece, with a little self-editing here and there. I promise I'll be a little perkier on Friday. I do hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

I'm off this week

Since it's so close to Christmas, I'm taking the week off. Be back with blog posts next Monday!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The price that had to be paid.

War has struck the world again. City against city, and many have died. Recruits are necessary and many are answering the call. But sometimes a soldier loses what he most wishes to defend.

 “I don't care what the recruiters say. You are not joining the military.” Ivor's father stood firm, glaring at his son.
Ivor squared his shoulders and looked his father in the eyes. “I already have. I ship out in the morning.”
“I'll lock you in your room.” His mother radiated fury.
“You do that and I get arrested for going AWOL,” Ivor said. “Besides, I've already got a bunk in the barracks. I was going to sleep there tonight.” He turned his back on his parents. “I came home to give you the courtesy of letting you know where I was going. I don't care of you approve or not.”
“If you leave, you're cut off. No money, no family, nothing.” His father's words burned in his ears.
“If that's the way it has to be,” Ivor said. He reached into his duffel and pulled out a small credit chip. He set it on a table on his way out the door. He heard his mother's strident cries, but he ignored them.
He walked down to the street where Nicolai was waiting for him. “As bad as you thought?” Nicolai asked as Ivor got into the hover.
“I don't want to talk about it,” Ivor said. His anger was rapidly cooling, leaving an emptiness in his gut.
“Did yours disown you like mine did me?” Nicolai asked. “I'm cut off completely. No money, no family, no home to return to.”
“Mine did the same.” Ivor's anger returned. “What do they expect? We're at the top of our class for anything related to do with the Net, we're both in top shape physically, and we have this need to protect everyone we love. Why can't they just accept us?”
“Because we're not only the top of our class,” Nicolai said. “We also come from wealthy families. You know how much of a difference that makes.”
“I'm not letting it stop me from doing this,” Ivor said.
“Neither am I. I'm also willing to bet there are others like us who are giving up literally everything to join the military,” Nicolai said.
“There's no shortage of children in our sector of the city,” Ivor said. “It's not as if someone will go hungry if we leave.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sibling relationships are not easy

Lucan's temper has frayed to the point where anything regarding his sister will set him off. His sister never seems to be anything but angry. Another day, another fight. But not all fights are equal.

Lucan got to her office and walked in. Two of his high level Hackers were in there. She was screaming at them, threatening them with the termination of their contracts because of what happened. “That is absolutely the last thing you will do,” Lucan snapped when she paused for breath. “Or we'll be worse off than we already are.” She opened her mouth to start again. “You two go on and get back to work. I'll take care of it.” They left.
What do you think you're doing?” Alya demanded.
Exactly what you told me to do, dear sister,” Lucan said. “I'm running the security team. If you don't like it, put someone else in charge. Like I've been telling you to do for the last two years.” Lucan hated the fact that those under him were reluctant to follow orders because most of them considered anything he said as being suspect. After all, the only reason the twenty seven year old tech expert was head of Net security was because he was the CEO's brother.
I will not replace you, but you'd better catch this infiltrator the next time he gets in here,” Alya said.
With what resources? You've stripped me bare, sending some of my best agents out to other cities to gather information. I'm left with the two you were screaming at and a bunch of children barely out of school to take over the jobs of people with three times their experience,” Lucan said.
You're the best. You find him,” Alya said.
I can do many things, sister dear, but I am not a magician. I'm also only one person. If he's as good as he's showing himself to be, it's going to take more than one person to catch him,” Lucan said. “You may have to accept that the information was copied and leave it at that.”
That information you're so blasé about details some of our movements, including the placements of some of your Hackers,” Alya said.
And this is why I didn't want you to send them,” Lucan said. “I understand that other cities are doing this. But they take ordinary people and train them up. They don't strip their already limited resources and reduce their fighting force down to almost nothing.”
It couldn't wait,” Alya said.
That's because you took too long to realize this was already going on without you paying attention,” Lucan said. “I'd already lost six of my best to assassins when you decided to deprive me of most of my crew and saddle me with children close to my age who have a hard time following my orders because they don't believe I have the skill to back up my words.”
That's your problem,” Alya said.
A problem you gave me,” Lucan said. His voice was getting louder. He stopped and took a few deep breaths. “We'll do our best to catch the infiltrator, Alya. But I will make no promises because with what you've left me with it'll be hard to get someone out alive if they do find him. Or them. Whichever the case may be.” He turned and walked out of the office.

Monday, December 8, 2014

No post today...have some cute kittens instead

I completely forgot I needed to write a post for today. So instead of my ramblings, please enjoy these cute kittens I found.





Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Serafina refuses to pay her mother's debt

In this world, indenturement is a common thing among the poorer denizens of the sprawling mega city. To avoid it themselves, parents often sell their children to make the money they need to pay their bills. Or buy more illicit substances. Or pay off the gangs that seem to crop up everywhere. But there are those children who are quick enough to get away.

 “They're coming.” The cry created a stampede. Not of people anxious to buy things, but to sell them.
Serafina, come here.” Her mother's voice was full of irritation.
No. You're not selling me.” Serafina tried to get past her mother, but a thin hand caught her wrist in an iron grip.
You're the last one holding your father and me back. You eat too much and you don't do your share of the work,” her mother said.
I do more of the work than you do,” Serafina said, struggling. “I won't let you sell me. I'm not going to be a slave.”
You're not a slave, Serafina. You're an indent. That means you can pay off your purchase price eventually.” Her mother held tight to her as they waited for the indent transports to pull up.
No I won't. No one ever does.” Serafina stopped struggling, but her mother didn't let go.
Who told you that?” her mother asked.
Dad did. His parents sold his sister. She should have been freed already. She's still working at for them.” Serafina gathered her strength and waited.
The transports opened up and the indent accquisition teams spread out. They collected some adults who were guilty of not paying back their debts. Their cildren were taken along with them to minimize the strain on the already overworked child relocation services. It took some time, but they finally got to Serafina and her mother.
Name of the child?” The man looked bored.
Serafina Vincent.”
Age?”
Twelve.”
Reason for the indenturement?”
She's too expensive for us to keep.”
Does she have any skills?”
How should I know? She's on the Net most of the day. I don't know what she does on there. I do know she at least manages to help keep the apartment clean.”
The man tapped in the last details. “We'll pay fifteen hundred credits for her.”
I'll take it.” Serafina's mother let go of her arm.
Before the man could grab her, Serafina was off at a dead run away from them. She was tall for her age, but was skinny and agile. She could hear her mother yell after her but quickly outpaced her voice.

Monday, December 1, 2014

NaNo is over

So, NaNoWriMo is officially over. My goal was to get as close to 100 K as I could and I exceeded that goal by a few thousand words. Not sure what the final count will be because I'm not quite finished with the story yet. I'm looking at probably around 110 to 115 K.

So I'm almost finished with my first draft. What am I going to do now? Well the first thing I'm going to do is finish it, of course. But after? This puppy is going to hibernate in its own little folder on my hard drive for a while. At least a month, if not more. It's always a good idea to let your stories rest for a while.

As soon as I finish the first draft of Hackers, I'm going to beta read the third installment in my friend Joelle's serial. Once I do that, I'm at a crossroads. I can either edit Marked, which it most certainly needs since it's just a first draft. Or I can try to write some short stories and get more of them out into the big wide world in the hopes that someone will love them.

The first has merit, as does the second one. My problem with the second one is I'm not good at short stories. I always start out to write to a small word count. Then I get writing and the next thing you know, I have a novella or sometimes the start of a novel. I just don't write short stories well.

I also haven't really practiced short stories. I have a few that people have liked, that unfortunately I can't send out because they've been somewhere online for free and editors don't want those. So I'm not entirely sure what I should do.

Any suggestions? Should I devote some time to developing my short story talent (or lack thereof)? Or should I edit Marked?

Friday, November 28, 2014

NaNo update and more music

I've made it through the end of NaNo and beyond. My story is sitting at over 100k right now and I'm not sure if I'm finished with it or not. Please accept these music videos in exchange for me and my mushy writer brain.





Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Not a good day

Sometimes things just go wrong no matter what you hope for.

As soon as she appeared in the entry way, her five cats descended on her, yowling. Aya laughed and filled their food dishes. They ate a little but soon Rocky, the only male of the bunch began trying to bury the bowl he preferred. She'd picked Rocky up from the shelter four years earlier, when he was only seven months old. He'd been neutered, but they told her they'd found him as a stray beside the road. When she asked a vet about his tendency to bury his food, she'd been told that for a cat rescued like Rocky had been that was perfectly normal. Strays had to bury their food in order to protect it from other animals.
She started towards her computer when her phone went off. She grabbed it and saw it was from Jesimae. She answered. Before she could even say anything, Jesimae cut in. “Aya, Will's in hysterics. I'm pretty sure Damon got to her apartment. It's trashed, anything of real value is either gone or smashed into pieces, and there are marks in blood all over it.”
Aya heard the other woman's sobs. “Get her as far away from there as possible,” Aya said. “Has she gone inside?”
No,” Jesimae said. “We noticed this from the door. I wouldn't let Will in when I saw the bloody marks. They looked too much like runes.”
Good,” Aya said. “Get her over here as soon as you can. If it was Damon who orchestrated this he's going to have some of his goons looking for her. Not to mention if those marks are what I think they are, it's too dangerous for her to go in.”
All right. We'll be there quick as we can,” Jesimae said. She ended the call.
Aya sat down at her computer and turned it on. She smiled as it booted up instantly. Let others sing the praises of other operating systems. She loved her linux machine. It was up and ready long before any of the other operating systems she'd seen.
As soon as it was completely up she opened a browser window. She went to her bookmarks and selected one particular site. It asked for a password. Aya typed hers in. There was a momentary pause as it verified that she was who she said she was, and then the page began to load.
This was a page that only Otherworlders could access. The site would never stay in a browser history, the password would never save, and those that ran it had procured their own server and kept it under password lock as well. Those who needed it could access it. All others would never know of its existence.
When it was finished loading, she clicked on the link that would take her to the area where Otherworlders could check to see if someone they knew was incarcerated in a human prison. She glanced at the corner. It had been updated five minutes before she got it. She put in Damon's name and clicked the search button.
To her relief, Damon was still in the human prison. Not only was what he'd been arrested for according to the human authorities listed, but all of the crimes he'd committed against Otherworlders were there as well. Damon's list against the Otherworlders was long, with several serious offenses. He was usually too quick to get caught, and the enforcers in the Otherworld society had been looking for him for quite a number of years.

She read the note on the entry. Incarcerated in human jail. Enforcer sent. So they weren't taking any chances. They were going to take care of Damon for good. Aya sat back and regarded the page. She'd keep refreshing until she knew for sure what Damon's fate was. He had some powerful allies, and she didn't want to see him slip through the noose again.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What about Mordred?

On Friday, I shared a sample of the music I listen to while I'm writing. One of the songs I shared was Mordred's Lullaby. I love this song for many reasons. First, the melody and lyrics are awesome. But also for the thoughts it brings.

People vilify Mordred all the time as the one who killed King Arthur. But what people don't seem to remember is that he is Morgana's son. Where did he get his intense hatred of King Arthur? From his mother.

What kind of woman was Morgana? (Or Morgan Le Fay, if you're familiar with that name.) Was she a conniving bitch who sought only her half brother's demise? Was she the bitter cast off who was denied her rightful place? Was she a child of the fay who demanded Arthur's life as the price?

In some legends, we see Morgana as one of the women who takes Arthur to Avalon when he's so gravely injured. If that's the case, why was her son the one who fought him?

Then there's the somewhat recent version of King Arthur that came out in 2004. Mordred didn't exist in that movie. Neither did Morgana. Where did she come from then in the Arthurian legend?

There are so many questions about Mordred and Morgana, and their roles in the world of King Arthur and his knights. There are countless retellings of the legend of King Arthur that it's anyone's guess.

My goal is to read as many books on the legend and when I have, create my own stories about Morgana and Mordred. Because I want to see what they're like. I want to hear the story from their sides. Who are they and what are they truly like?

How about you? Are there characters you've read in faerie tales, myths, or legends that you're curious about? Who are they? What do you think of them?

Friday, November 21, 2014

My writing music

As this is November and NaNoWriMo, I can guess that you will all understand that I'm listening to music as I work. So I thought once again I'd share a little of what I'm listening to as I work. So here, a collection of songs.





Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A child dreams

Ravensha is but a child, yet sometimes a child's dreams can carry a kernel of truth.
 Ravensha's body twitched as she slept. She whimpered quietly. One of the women tending the fledglings nudged her with her foot. “Wake up, child.”
Ravensha opened her eyes with a gasp. “Red eyes,” she whispered. “The red eyes are coming.”
“Be silent.” The foot struck her wing harder and Ravensha cried out in pain.
“What goes on here?” Ersa, favored mate of the Sky-Lord, walked into the cavern.
“Just an unruly fledgling, my lady,” the woman said, kicking at Ravensha again. “My apologies if her cries disturbed you.”
“What's disturbing me is your abuse of the Sky-Lord's daughter,” Ersa said coldly. “Ravensha was recognized as his child. You have been told to treat her well, and I find you striking her with the intent to harm. Shall I speak to the Sky-Lord about your actions?”
The woman blanched. “No, my lady.”
“Then I suggest you moderate your treatment of his daughter,” Ersa said. She looked down at Ravensha. “Now, what disturbed your sleep?”
“Red eyes,” Ravensha said again. “The red eyes are coming.”
Ersa raised an eyebrow. “Red eyes? Coming here?”
Ravensha nodded. “I saw them. They crawled down the stone like the rock creepers. They're coming here. They're bad people. They're going to hurt us.”
“It was just a dream, Ravensha,” Ersa said. “You know no one comes down the cliff. Go back to sleep.”
“Yes, mama,” Ravensha said. She wrapped her wings back around her and closed her eyes.
“My lady, I understand that she is the only female the Sky-Lord has claimed out of the many he has sired, but should we really be treating her any differently from the rest of the fledglings?” the woman asked.
“It is rare for a Sky-Lord to recognize a female,” Ersa said. “You know this. He must see some value in her, and I will not see her harmed just when the Sky-Lord finds favor with her. He could summon her to his presence at any time. Do you want him to see her bruised?”
“No,” the woman said. “But I also do not want to have him see her undisciplined.”
“Chastise her if you wish, but moderate your blows,” Ersa said.
“Yes, my lady,” the woman said. Ersa left.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Holiday traditions

Holidays are always hard for me. Last year I spent my Thanksgiving and almost my Christmas in a mental hospital. My mom loved the holidays and would go all out for them. I lost someone I loved just after New Year's Day. My lack of interest in it makes me not want to celebrate Christmas.

I've long wondered what makes holidays so good for other people and so lousy for me. My depression is a little worse around those times. Himself used to love celebrating Thanksgiving, but after the loss of his mother a few years ago, Thanksgiving is just as hard for him as it is for me.

Thanksgiving is the best of the holidays for me too. Not because of the food, but because I get to see my brother and sisters. Even if one of my older sisters and I have some problems with each other. We've all agreed to have a truce for the holiday so we don't upset my dad. This year we won't have that as none of the older ones can come for dinner and dad decided he would rather go to a restaurant that's open on Thanksgiving rather than cook.

Holidays have become so commercialized I think people have forgotten about what they're supposed to mean. I don't mean the religious background of them. I mean the fact that they're supposed to be around family.

I'm one of those people angry at businesses for being open on Thanksgiving and Christmas. In many cases, from the people I've talked to, they're not allowed to call out on either of those days because if they are they'll be fired. They're not allowed to request the days off, but the managers can. One friend of mine is a cashier. She told me that on Black Friday, there were fifteen cashiers on and one manager. You can guess what kind of chaos that caused, and the store manager didn't care what the reason was. He was angry that they lost sales because people walked out when the manager didn't come to answer their requests.

Holidays should be about family. They should be about having fun with your family. Don't get me wrong. I love getting gifts at Christmas. I enjoy giving them too. But I don't look at it as Christmas. I look at is as loving my family and sharing in a tradition we've established.

Families develop traditions for the holidays. Each one celebrates them a little differently than the others. Traditions are a lot of fun. Those same traditions that they've participated in since they were children can be carried on when the children grow up and have children of their own. But those families will develop their own traditions as well.

What about you? What holiday traditions do you have? This is for any holiday, not just Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The poisoned apple

A stranger brings Dairine a sweet treat. But what is it in truth?

Dairine was humming to herself, a song she'd heard in town one day, when there was a knock on the door. She was long past the fear of opening it. An elderly woman she didn't recognize stood on the step. “Forgive me, but I was told in the village that there was a woman here who could help me.” She held up a cloak with a tear in it. “Can you fix this?” Her voice grew hoarse. “I don't have much in the way of money. I lost my husband several months ago and haven't gotten everything resolved yet for me to be comfortable.”
It's an easy fix,” Dairine said. “But, forgive me, I can't possibly work without some sort of payment.”
What about these?” The old woman held out a basket of apples. “They're straight from the orchard. I know they're not much, but it would be something.” She pulled one of the largest out of the basket. “If you want to know how they taste before you work, you can try this one. If it's not to your liking I'll find some other way of paying you.”
Dairine loved apples. She'd missed them living with the miners. They were too expensive in town since the orchards around the town produced the kinds of apples only the highborn could afford. She hesitated for a moment, and then took the large apple from the woman. “Would you care to share it with me?”
I get my fill of apples during this season,” the old woman said. “Go ahead. That one's all for you.”

Monday, November 10, 2014

Suicide

I know I talk about mental illness on my blog. It's because it's something I'm passionate about. Depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, autism, hypermania, hypomania, all of things can affect people and you might not even notice.

I'm bipolar. Last November I tried to kill myself. I took half a bottle of klonopin. But I panicked and called and texted a bunch of people. I was taken to the hospital by ambulance when the police arrived. I don't remember the ride though. I lost consciousness. We got to the ER. I was told later I had periods of me being awake and disoriented and me just being unconscious. I couldn't tell what was happening, but it was enough to frighten Himself.

I vaguely remember getting to the mental hospital. It was around 2 or 3 in the morning. I made it to my room and passed out again. I woke up when someone came to take my vitals. It was 7 am and I was told they'd been taking my vitals every 15 minutes since I got there. I wasn't clear headed but I was more oriented so they let me go to breakfast.

A few days passed and I met up with a woman appointed by the court to talk to me. We talked and explained that if she and another one of her colleagues who I would meet in another day or two gave me a positive, I'd be stuck in the mental hospital for a while until they decided to give me a negative. Both of them gave me positives.

I had to go to court so it was legally said that I was to stay in the mental hospital until they felt I wasn't a threat to myself. To go I was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police car. I stood before the judge with the handcuffs on. When it was done, I was taken back to the hospital.

The hospital I was at was only a temporary stay. They found me another hospital to spend a longer time. That was Safe Haven. I was taken in the back of a police car, though this time I wasn't handcuffed. I got to the hospital and was immediately taken under the care of a psych tech. She guided me through the initial check in, and then helped me to my room. They were single occupancy rooms so I didn't have to worry about someone bothering me. She talked to me for a few minutes about who I was, what my goals were outside of the hospital, and why I thought suicide was the only way out. She genuinely cared. I'd already been in mental hospitals for suicidal ideology (thinking about it but not actually going through with it) three times and I never felt so cared for as I did when I arrived at Safe Haven.

I was there from December 3rd to December 18th. While I was there, I grew comfortable dealing with the other patients and the staff. I was treated well, and any time I felt upset one of the psych techs would take me to the side and sit with me until I felt better. My psychiatrist worked with me and actually listened when I told her what was going on so we could get my cocktail of meds fully set up to help me stay stable.

I still had to have the lady appointed by the court come and talk to me to make sure I was safe to leave the hospital and go home. She came and talked to me. She gave me a negative and my involuntary hold was retracted. I could go home. It took two days for that negative to get registered with the court. My husband came and got me and I went home.

When I tried to kill myself, I thought it was the only way to go. I felt nothing in my life was going right. I thought people would be better off without me because I was just a drain on them. I decided that people didn't really love me and only said that to appease me. I didn't talk about my feelings with anyone.

Pay attention to those you know have mental illness. If they want to talk, listen to them. Be encouraging to them and show that you love them. If they have trouble, don't abandon them. You can't change them. You can't tell them what to do. But sometimes all it takes is one person who believes in them to help them. But even that doesn't always work.

The national suicide hotline is here. Some states have local suicide hotlines. Encourage them to talk to them. Make sure they have the suicide hotline so if they have any doubts it's the right thing to do they have someone to talk to.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fonts

Let's talk fonts. I love fonts. I'll play with different fonts in my stories. I may even start out writing my first draft in a different font. Though I'll eventually convert it to Times New Roman because as fun as my strange fonts are, even my eyes can't take it all the time.

I looked up something the other day about what was the right text for publishing. I found answers here and here. I've always been told to write it in a generic font like Times New Roman, and that's what I always default to. So now I'm wondering which font I should really use to submit my stories to a publisher. Or to use if I self-publish my books as e-books.

This is one of my favorite fonts. It's called Chancery. It's one of the pretty fonts on LibreOffice.

LibreOffice doesn't have a lot of the same fonts as Word. One of the things they do have is a lot of foreign language fonts. There are Middle Eastern fonts, Japanese fonts, and Chinese fonts to name a few. I've played with a few of them, just to see how they work. It's kind of fun to see how things come out, even though I can't speak the languages.

Fonts can be used to express yourself in many different ways. Using bold can add emphasis. Italics can mark things that are important. Underlining can be used to show things that people need to pay attention to. Using different fonts can be a good way to differentiate between two speakers if a simple dialogue tag isn't going to be helpful.

Then there's using colored fonts. Changing the color can help you tag things when you're editing your work. Other people can do the same thing to help you with your editing as well. If you want to differentiate between multiple conversations when you're doing something like a blog post you can alter the colors. Setting up a presentation can sometimes use colored fonts as well.

What about you? Do you have a favorite font? What fonts do you know that publishers look for?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The first introduction to the Beast

Ceinwen has bathed and been dressed. But what is it she has to face now?

 “Now, just try to be brave when you see him,” Sadie said. “You'll get off to a better start than if you run screaming.”
I'll keep that in mind,” Ceinwen said. She still had a hard time walking so she moved slowly across the room. The door opened at her approach. She walked through it and set off down the corridor. The stairs were a bit more of a challenge for her and she had to stop and rest for a moment at the bottom so her legs didn't give out under her.
A door to her right opened. It was, from what little she could see where she was standing, an elegantly appointed dining hall. Once she was sure she could make the walk without falling over, she moved slowly into the room. A chair was pulled out for her and she gratefully sat down. A moment later, she heard something like the brief susurration of sound and a large shadow seated itself at the end of the table. “Welcome, Ceinwen. I trust your journey was not too unpleasant.”
There was a hint of a hiss in that voice, and Ceinwen wondered what form this beast was forced into. “I have not been on many journeys, but this one was comfortable enough until the horse.”
You do not like horses?” he asked.
I can't ride,” Ceinwen said. “I've never been on a horse until today.”
Why did he not bring you on foot. The climb is only a short one.”
Something about not wanting to be anywhere near the village after sunset,” Ceinwen said.
Ah yes. The curse on my village,” he said. “I do hope you find the food here to your liking. My cook is very good at what he does, even if he lacks imagination.”
Ceinwen looked down and her plate was full of food. While they were exchanging pleasantries the servants had served her. “My lord, I am used to a plate of the most simple foods, with only a rare sampling of the finer things my brothers and sisters ate regularly. This looks to me to be wonderful.”
You need not address me as 'my lord', Ceinwen. Only my servants address me as such. To you I am simply Beast. It suits me better than my old name these days,” the Beast said.
It seems rude to call you that,” Ceinwen said.
The Beast snorted. “My lady, I am a monster. I have no illusions about that.”
If I am to call you Beast, please do not call me 'my lady',” Ceinwen said. “I am Ceinwen, and nothing else.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

Plot holes and perfect characters

I've done a book review post on Ready Player One, but I want to talk a little bit more about it. This isn't a classic book review post. You can find my original post here.

What I want to talk is about the main character. This is in first person, so we should get a good idea of what the character is like. And we do. There are times where I think Wade is an asshole, but that's not a bad thing. If he was perfect, I'd be bored and walk away from the book.

What gets me is the plot holes and problems with keeping information straight. First, Wade seems to know how to do everything. He can repair computers, program like a professional, play guitar, fire a gun. Those last two he's never done in the real world. He can memorize things easily and even though it's been a while since he memorized it he can still recall it perfectly.

When it comes to details, the writer says the RV was one of the character's home for years, when in fact she hadn't even had it for a year. When Wade is taken in as an indent, something is fastened to his right ear. Yet when it comes off, it comes off of his left ear.

Wade's attitude is great for an 18 year old kid. (Yes I think 18 year olds are kids.) His perspectives fit well with the world he lives in. And don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the story. We listen to it a lot when we go to bed as background noise, and when we wake up I just let it play until it's finished. The audiobook is 15 hours long. Which is understandable when you consider the book is extremely long. I can't remember off hand, and it's on my kindle cloud so I can't just open it, but I think it has around 400-600 pages. It's a long book.

Another series that I love but have been jarred out of is Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books. The ones I mean are Exile's Honor and Exile's Valor. In the rest of the books, the birth of Selenay's daughter Elspeth is twenty years after the end of the Tedrel War. In those two books, it's just a little over a year. The problem with that is I can see the time line being more like the two Exile books, even though they've been written later in the series.

I dislike when authors make their characters too perfect, have too many things handed to them that shouldn't be there. I also don't like ones who can't keep their own time lines straight. Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of both of these. In my first draft. By the time I'm finished, I hope to have fixed the problems. If I haven't, I rely on my beta readers to find those errors and tell me about them.

What about you? Is there something that will jar you out of a story enough to put it down? Or do you ignore it and finish the book anyway?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Why I love Halloween

Everyone and their cousin is doing a post about Halloween. I thought about doing one too, but there's something more important than horror films, haunted houses, and trick or treating that happens on the 31st for me.

It's my twelfth wedding anniversary.

Himself and I have been together for fifteen years, married for twelve. Twelve years ago, we got dressed up in nice clothes (I bought a beige lace dress that I wore for several years after) and went to the courthouse. We had a couple friends and my family there. We said our vows, kissed, and that was that. We were married.

I've been asked how we met. It's a funny story, at least to us. I think I've shared this before, but I don't remember. So I'm sharing it again.

I was twenty two with no job prospects, no college education, and no marketable skills outside working in a nursing home or fast food/retail. Not what you want when you're that age. One of my older sisters suggested I try Job Corps. I was under the cut off age by two years and I could learn more about office work by taking their clerical program. So I went to the office and signed up. My only request? To get me out of Idaho. I was also going through some problems in my personal life and I needed to get away from everyone.

There was some discussion, but they finally found me one in Sedro-Woolley, WA that had an open spot in the clerical program. So, a few days after I got the call, my parents and one of my friends saw me off at the Greyhound station. Job Corps paid for my bus ticket. I don't remember how long the bus ride was, but I know we got into the actual Job Corps center just after midnight. I was exhausted and only half paid attention to what was being said around me. Which was fine, because it all got repeated in Orientation anyhow.

Our first introduction to life in Job Corps was an Orientation class that was to last for two weeks. Now, there was a lot of free time on the center. It's all job training during regular business hours. But that left us with our evenings free. I went looking for something to do. I found a group playing D&D (2nd edition) and they let me come in to play.

It had been ten years since I played D&D. I'd been playing Arduin for most of my teenage and adult life. So I needed someone to help me build my character. Enter Himself. He was eighteen years old and supremely confident in his knowledge. So he helped me build my character. He was an arrogant asshole who gave me crap because he thought I should know more than I did. I decided I didn't like him and since he wasn't a regular with the group, I didn't see much of him beyond him helping me with my character building.

Well, near the end of the two weeks of Orientation, the culinary arts students came in to talk about the banquet they were throwing for us. It was a test for them and a way for us to see one of the trades in action. Guess who was the coordinator for our banquet? Yup, you guessed it. It was Himself.

I was surprised by his professionalism and the fact that he seemed to genuinely care about getting things correct for all of us. There were two vegetarians, one who didn't drink soda, and me who couldn't have caffeine at the time because of the meds I was on. He made notes of that and said things would be ready for us.

We had our banquet and the culinary students did exactly what we hoped they would. At the end of the banquet, Himself and his team of culinary students came in to clean up. I did something I still don't know why I did it: I gave Himself a hug and thanked him for the banquet. He was shocked. I was shocked. And my friend started laughing.

We headed back to the Orientation classroom where we hung out until it was time for the rest of the center to go to lunch. We were allowed to wander around and hang out with people. Well, I found Himself in a gazebo smoking. I stopped and gave him another hug, much to the amusement of my friend since I'd told her I found him to be an asshole. Then he asked me if I was seeing anyone. I told him no. He asked me on a date. I said yes.

That yes was the beginning of a relationship that has had it's up and downs. We've had fights. We've gone through some pretty hard times. But we're still together. And that's what makes Halloween so special to me. My husband.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The curse approaches

A sorceress stops a curse set by her husband, while feeling her own spreading out towards a sleeping village.

The power bled from her as if from an open wound. Her fear acted as a blade, digging into her, making her weak as the very core of her being was sacrificed to stop the curse. She stumbled as her feet found every rock in the path. The chill grew behind her. She couldn't risk a glance over her shoulder without the chance of falling. 

She searched the village in front of her, stealing energy from all living things. Plants withered and livestock died. Children woke in the night screaming as terrible nightmares filled their minds. Men woke and reached for weapons. Women shrieked and flung themselves out of bed, some to flee and some to protect their children.

She reached the end of the path and looked over her shoulder. Ice slowly made its way down the path she'd just run. Rocks cracked beneath the cold. She could feel the tiny points of life vanishing as plants and animals were killed as it followed it's inexorable path. She stopped and reached out once again. She seized on every life she found. Taking only a fraction of the power released by them, she sent her magic to stop the curse. The gods smiled on her this time for the ice stopped at the edge of the village.

She could feel her own spell from the castle making its way down now too. A different curse would soon be upon the villagers. This one she couldn't stop. She didn't want to. There were some things that she couldn't forgive.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Yet another post about NaNoWriMo

Unless you've been living in a state of blissful forgetfulness, I'm sure you're all aware that it's almost time for NaNoWriMo. You can find out more about it here. 50K in 30 days. It sound scary but it really isn't. It's a good way to kickstart that novel you've been kicking around in your head. Or you can be a NaNo Rebel and finish an already started manuscript. You can't use anything you've previously written in your word count of course, but it's still possible. (Yes I know I did a post on NaNo on the 3rd. Bear with me for the repeat.)

Now, I've been doing this since 2003. I haven't won every year. I've lost five times due to various circumstances. A couple of them, life jumped up and bit me on the ass. The others I didn't like what I was working on and lost interest in it. I tried to write a different story, counting the words on the original idea I had as part of my word count (which I could get away with since I wrote it in November). It didn't help. I floundered and just couldn't get into it.

I've read some fantastic posts regarding NaNo over the month. Liana Brooks has been doing NaNo boot camps on her blog every Tuesday and Thursday. One of my favorite blogs, done by Kristen Lamb, has a few good posts on it as well for NaNo. And just for general information about writing. Both of these ladies are awesome.

What am I doing to prepare for NaNo? Good question. I'm working out character backgrounds, setting descriptions, and who the antagonist is since I still don't know who my main characters are fighting against. I had an idea, but I didn't like it so now I'm scrambling to figure something else out. But all of this is as much of a plan I'm doing. I'm a pantser, not a plotter.

What about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What's your story going to be about? Are you planning or pantsing?

Friday, October 24, 2014

A musical Friday

I love music. Not all music. Not even most music. What I love is a niche market with me branching out into other stuff from time to time. I'm beginning to like some of the strange music Himself listens to. I don't even know what to call it. But some of it sounds good to me. Mostly I can't stand it because of high pitched tones that hurt my ears. But it's still fun.


Today, in lieu of a regular post, I thought I'd share some of my favorite songs with you. I hope you enjoy.

Catfight - Technoboy


Augen Auf - Oomph


Iron - Within Temptation


Shatter Me - Lindsey Stirling & Lizzy Hale

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The beginning of Lisa's adventure

Lisa's twin brother - who she thought was her cousin all her life - has been kidnapped by a dark power. The world she envisioned for her novels turned out to be real, and it is to this world she must go to save him.


They waited until the moon was up before slipping out of the house. Lisa directed her mom to one of the many lakes around the city. “I'm scared, mom,” Lisa said.
I know you are,” Sarah said. “So am I. But you have to do this.”
Lisa nodded. She got out of the car and walked towards the lake. She heard the sirens. Three police cars screeched to a halt. Lisa continued walking into the lake. Water splashed against her calves. “Lisa Harper, come out of the lake,” an officer yelled.
Lisa heard it. The faint growl under his voice, the hint of darkness in his words. She ignored him and continued heading for the middle of the lake. “Get in there and grab her,” someone else said.
The bottom dropped out from under her. She surfaced long enough to take a deep breath before submerging herself again. She swam out to the middle and more towards the floor of the lake. Her lungs screamed and she fought the panic. She wanted to surface. She needed air. But she ignored it. She couldn't hold her breath any more. She let the breath out and drew in a mouthful of water. She choked but felt something growing deep inside her. She took another breath. Her vision blurred and she felt her body floating. A third breath and she lost consciousness.
Who is she?” The voice was accented. Someone peeled open one of her eyes.
Lisa pulled back and sat up. A hand steadied her. She stared around at people who could have come out of her novels. “Tell me, young one, what is your name?” an ancient woman said with a gentle smile.
Lisa.” She coughed.
How did you get here? You're not from Harvelan,” a tall man said.

 “No, I'm from Jasperville,” Lisa said. “It's a long story. I'm not even sure I understand it all. I just know that my twin brother was taken by the Nykran and my mom told me to run for it. She said I had to get here if I wanted to keep the darkness from overwhelming my world.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

Why do I write? Why do you write?

I was talking to my stepmom last week and the conversation turned to my writing. She's not that interested in fantasy or science fiction, but she tries to be supportive. She asked me how my work was going. We hadn't talked about it for a while so I told her the project we'd discussed the last time we talked about it had a finished first draft and I was working on a Snow White retelling that I was having fun with.

Then she asked me when I thought I'd actually get paid for my writing. I told her I was still waiting to hear back from some e-zines about the short stories I'd submitted to them. Then I said depending on if I self-pubbed, went to a small press, or got a publishing contract from the Big 5, it could be up to two years before it saw print and I saw some money from the novels. Not to mention I have to finish revising them and find someone to read through and point out my mistakes.

She said it sounded like a lot of work for little return. I told her it could seem that way but for me writing was more than just for money. When she asked me why I write, I had an answer for her that she didn't understand.

This is what I told her: I write because I have stories to tell.

I don't mind the thought of getting paid for it. I've been leaning towards submitting my writing to different places in the hopes that my stories are well received by others. And I'd be lying if I didn't say my goal is to publish. But it's not the money that drives me. It's the need to tell as many people as possible the stories kicking around in my head.

And I have a lot of stories.


So, here's a question for all of you. Why do you write?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gwillym's desperate hope

Lord Gwillym was married just the day before. Now he risks losing his daughter, who has been the most precious thing in his life since his wife died when Dairine was very young. In his desperation, he pleads with his daughter's playmates for help.
 Gwillym went down into the heart of the forest. He knelt before a short stone altar grown over with vines and flowers. He and Dairine were the only two who even knew this place existed. He clasped his hands in front of him.
“It is not normal for the father of the gifted one to come to us,” a voice said. He looked up and what once looked to be nothing more than a gnarled root turned over. A pair of black eyes peered at him through bushy eyebrows. It didn't take long for a group of beings to surround him.
“I've come to ask for your help,” Gwillym said.
“Where is she?” an ethereal spirit asked.
“Dying,” Gwillym said. “She burns too hot and her body is too weak.”
“When did this start?” the gnarled man asked.
“It must have come on her last night,” Gwillym said. “We were holding a ceremony my new wife insisted we perform. It is where a sprinkle of water from the important people is spread on the newlyweds. It came to Dairine's turn. She couldn't even hold the dipper. She dropped it and then ran off. We didn't find her until this morning, when the servants came upon her.”
“There is a darkness in your house that we cannot penetrate,” the ethereal voice said. “None of us dare step foot in there now. It would destroy us, and through us your daughter.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

What playing Sims 3 does for me

I know I've talked about video games before, but I'm going to revisit the subject again. Mostly because I've started playing Sims 3 again. I don't have all the expansion or stuff packs, and I don't have all of the ones I do own installed right now. But I have the base game plus the expansions I love on the computer and I'm playing the game pretty much daily now, even if it's only for an hour or two.

I've discovered that I like playing Sims 3 because I can make life be as good or as bad as I want it to be. Some days I want a glimpse of the life I hope to lead one day. So I give my sims everything they want, build them lovely houses, give them multiple pets (okay, multiple cats...though I do have one family who has a bird, three turtles, and four cats instead of just cats), give them good jobs, and just generally give them a good life.

Then there's the times when I feel like they deserve to live as cheaply as we have to. I've got a married couple, no children yet, who are working low wage jobs just to make ends meet. They live in a small house with cheap furniture and struggle to pay the bills even though they live as simply as possible. Every now and then I'll cheat and give them an extra thousand simoleons (sim cash) to help them get a leg up so they can get promotions. Sims 3 has three age levels for adults: Young Adult, Adult, and Elder. My poor couple are halfway to adult and still within the first two rungs on their jobs. My wealthy family has one who's reached the top of their chosen career, with the second not far behind. Both of them are barely halfway through the Young Adult phase.

What's that mean? Honestly, it's a game of dream vs. reality. I love playing both of them because they both give me hope. The game where everyone has money, has a good job, and has as much food for themselves and their pets that they want – that they can even afford to support all those pets as well – is fun in it gives me a glimpse of what my future might be. The one where they're poor and live paycheck to paycheck is good also because it gives me hope because even though they struggle they're very much in love with each other and I don't let it stop them from getting things done. Those little bonuses of $1000 they get once in a while is like a bonus on a check. They use it to fix something or buy something they need. (Books aren't cheap on Sims 3. And you need books to increase skills.) I love Sims 3 for just that reason: I can glimpse several different lives all at the click of a button.

Do you have any video games that help you out? What are they? How do they help you?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Aya hates reporters

This is a little snippet from the very beginning of the story I restarted this weekend. It's a little snapshot into Aya's personality. Of course, she's far more complex than can be shown in a few paragraphs, but I thought this was a fun way to introduce you to her.

“Hey boss, we've got two nuisances coming in,” Junior said. Though he was the co-owner of Lacey's, he preferred to act like he was just an employee.
“Who?” Aya asked.
“That reporter and a werewolf,” Junior said. “He's already pulling that attempt at alpha male shit at me.”
“Brendon told them to quit that,” Aya said.
“I don't think it's one of the pack,” Junior said. “He doesn't smell right and I don't recognize him.”
“Great, a stray,” Aya said. She pinched the bridge of her nose. “Which one's more important?”
“The reporter. He's got a camera.” Junior's voice held a hint of a growl. “He's pointing it at Randy, who conveniently had to run into the back. Everyone else is hightailing it too. Coop, Alex, and I are the only ones left.”
“I'm on my way,” Aya said. She got up and walked out into the main area.
“Ms. Winters,” the reporter said, holding his camera in one hand. He extended the other. “I'm so glad to see you. I really think we could do a great piece on this place, with it's history and all. If you and your staff would stand for pictures, we'd show what a great little family you've got here.”
Aya snorted. Family was a good term for the ragtag bundle of misfits that worked for her. She stared at the reporter's hand until he dropped it. “Mr. Kelley, I've told you politely several times what my opinion on doing a piece on Lacey's is. Let me be more blunt this time. No, you're not going to get our pictures. No, I refuse to give you access to our records. No, I do not want an article published anywhere on our establishment. If you even so much as try, I'll have a lawyer up your ass so fast you'll need an enema to get him out.”

Monday, October 6, 2014

One aspect of writer's block

I started a new story some time ago, but it stalled out when I was only 8k into it. No matter what I did, I couldn't bring myself to continue working on it. So it went into my story ideas folder, along with the notes I'd sketched out, to sit until I felt like working on it again.

I dusted it off over the weekend. I could see where I went wrong, but I wasn't sure how to fix it. I went back to the characters notes and realized I hadn't fleshed them out enough. I went through and did that. Once I was finished, the way to move the story forward finally came to me. It took erasing a good chunk of that, a little over 5k to be precise, to get it back to where I could make the story flow again. But it was worth it because I started getting somewhere instead of sitting and staring at the cursor blinking.

What happened to me initially with the story is, to me at least, a form of writer's block. I have a story I want to tell, but sometimes telling it gets in the way of the story itself. I wanted to keep it set to a series of events that I was planning for. I built it up too fast and then found it too difficult to keep going. How was I going to top some of the tension I'd already created moving forward? I wasn't sure I could, so it stalled out as I tried to figure out where to go.

Now I'm using minor bursts of tension to raise the stakes but not so much that I can't get around it when it comes time for the climax. Getting to that point too early in the book makes it more difficult to handle the coming scenes. Every character has a story, and some of them are subplots for the main one. I'm letting a little bit of those stories, not every detail but a hint of them, come out here in the beginning. This is giving me a lot more to work with than I initially had.

This is part of where being a pantser can be difficult at times. Which is why I may write the story by the seat of my pants, but I at least try to have a few conversations with my characters before I start just to get a sense of them and their stories.

What do you do? Do you write out notes for every little detail? Do you just wing it completely? Or are you somewhere in between?