Friday, November 28, 2014
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?