A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Friday, January 23, 2015

Stranded on an island with books

I stole this post idea from Patricia Lynne the other day. If I was stranded on an island, what ten books would I want to have with me?

Les Miserable by Victor Hugo
Why? It's a long book, I enjoyed reading it, and it would help pass a great deal of time. I need something to keep me entertained until I'm rescued.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Why? It was a gripping tale and it could give me ideas on how to survive.

3) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Why? If I'm going to have the first one, I want the second and third as well.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Why? See my answer to number 3.

Child of the Ghosts by Jonathan Moeller
I love Caina's spirit and of all the books he's written since this first one, this is still my favorite.

Ghost in the Flames by Jonathan Moeller
This is the other favorite of Caina's adventures.

The Skewed Throne by Joshua Palmatier
Varis is a fascinating character, and you get to see the book split into two different points of view. One is third person, telling what led her up to something. The other chapters are first person, dealing with her doing what the third person chapters are leading her to.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Why? I've always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes I find his stories engaging. I love his way of deduction. The first time I read them I was thrilled with the explanations of how he got to the conclusions he did.

The Illiad by Homer
Why? Why not? I've only read it once and I loved it then. It's a classic, and it wouldn't hurt to catch up on my classics again.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare by William Shakespeare
Why? My mom had a copy of this book. It held all of his plays. I love Shakespeare so it would be fun to have the book. I could keep myself entertained by acting out the plays by myself.

Go read Patricia's list or do this for your own blog. Share the link with me in the comments, or post your answers in the comments if you wish.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Little Serafina finds out more about real life

Before she became Nariel, Serafina was a child on the run.

 “We're all runaways,” Helena said. “It would look pretty strange if we started showing up with money to get an apartment.”
I can't get us an apartment but I might be able to get us enough money to buy food,” Serafina said. “I don't take much because my teacher says I shouldn't be greedy. But I've bought food for my family when my parents spent all of their money on drugs. I don't think they even noticed.”
How did you do it?” Helena asked.
I moved the money into an account under a false name and purchased the food through it,” Serafina said. “I only keep the name I make up for a few thefts. Then I drop it and move into something else.”
We won't be able to get food without an apartment,” Benaiah said. “Don't they deliver it?”
You can go to the store and buy it,” Helena said.
None of us are safe doing that,” Benaiah said. “Or have you forgotten why we're all here?”
We're all dodging the indent acquisitors,” Jannika said, as she saw the curious look on Serafina's face. “Either our parents tried to sell us, or they got acquired and they were going to take us as well.”
Your friend most definitely can't go out,” Helena said. “She's too new for them. They'll remember her face.”
Not to mention that for that sum of money, especially if they do drugs, her parents will be actively hunting for her,” Benaiah said.
Guess you're stuck in here for a while,” Jannika said.
You don't look well fed and your clothes are pretty worn. When we do let you out, that'll be a good thing,” Helena said. “I'll have Jannika teach you when it's safer for you to go out how to beg, who to beg from, and a better way to steal.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nariel is a little paranoid

Here it is. The very beginning of the very first chapter of my new first draft novel going by the working title of Hackers. So meet Nariel.

Sera sat far back in her usual corner. Other avatars came and went, most ignoring her in favor of their own pursuits. A vid was up and broadcasting the very public resignation of President Belenus Bianchi.
It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement. I leave the control of our grand city in the hands of Esdras Martel and the rest of the council.”
That Martel is bad news.” She turned and looked at the speaker. He was a large, overly muscled man with pale brown skin and bright blue eyes.
Sera snorted. Compensating for something are you, big boy? She shifted a little and continued watching those around her.
What makes you say that?” This came from a skinny waif sitting in the corner diagonal from Sera's. “He did a lot of good work during the war. Isn't that why Bianchi chose him?”
Sera mentally shook her head. The person's voice was high pitched and young sounding. Even she'd been smart enough to disguise her voice growing up as she had on the Net. “You're too young to know anything about it,” the bulky man said. “It doesn't sound like you're even old enough to remember the war.”
I know what I've been taught,” the waif said.
That's not knowing the war,” the man said. “You have to have lived it, or at least been alive and cognizant of the world enough to understand what happened.”
Sera sipped her virtual drink. Drinks on the Net were just as addictive as their real world counterparts. They sent currents through the neural net that stimulated the parts of the brain that led to the production of endorphins. The benefit of them was you didn't get that intoxicated unless you imbibed a whole hell of a lot more than was good for you, and the Net bartenders had readouts they could check to see your level of consumption.
Sera had been nursing hers for almost an hour. She was waiting for her contact to show up. She checked her internal chronometer. It wasn't like him to keep her waiting this long.
I don't see why it matters if I learn about it in class or if I was really there,” the waif said.
Learning about something from a holo text is very different from having lived through it,” the man said. “Now me, I actually fought in the war. And I'll say it plain. That Martel leaves a sour taste in my mouth.”
Sera finished her drink. She checked her internal chronometer again. She stood up. A quick transfer from her account to the Net based pub paid for her drink. The bartender noticed and waved at her. She was a regular there, in both of her personas, though he didn't know that she had two. As she headed for the door, her contact rushed in.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

She's a child

Every faerie tale must start somewhere. These are the opening scenes of my Snow White retelling.

 “Dairine, where are you?” The impatient voice of Braith, her nurse, made her giggle. She pulled herself deeper into the bush. “Dairine, your father has sent for you. You don't want to keep him waiting, do you?”
Dairine squirmed out from under the bushes. “What does papa want?”
There you are,” Braith said. “Look at you. Now we'll have to clean you up and that'll mean your father will have to wait that much longer to see you.”
No he won't.” Dairine closed her eyes and thought of the light. She knew she was glowing. When she opened them again, her dress was clean and her hair was back in its braid. “See? All better.”
Braith slapped her. “You know better than to do that,” she said. Dairine started crying. “Now we'll just see what your father has to say about this.” She dragged Dairine back towards the keep.
Dairine stumbled and was yanked back to her feet. She cried even harder. Braith threw her into the study, almost sending Dairine headlong into her father's desk. “What is this?” Lord Gwillym asked. “I said bring her to me, not reduce her to tears in the process.”
Now, you tell your father what you did,” Braith said.
I was playing in the garden when Nonna came looking for me,” Dairine said, still crying. “I hid under one of the flower bushes because I didn't know you wanted to see me. When she said that's why she wanted me I came out right away. She got angry because I was dirty and it would take longer to clean me up so I'd be later seeing you. I used the light to clean myself up. Nonna hit me and dragged me in here.”
I see,” Gwillym said. “Now, you know I've asked that you not use your light unless it's important, and only if you ask me first. Normally I'd be very angry, but I don't think there was any harm in you using it this time.” He looked at Braith, his expression growing angry. “I don't remember giving you permission to strike my daughter.”
It's sometimes the only way you can get through to a child,” Braith said.
I see,” Gwillym said. “I don't approve of such measures and if you strike my daughter again I will turn you out.”
Yes my lord,” Braith said.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Leelah Alcorn and suicide

If you've been online over the past few days, you've probably encountered something dealing with the suicide of Leelah Alcorn. If you haven't, then you should look it up. Here is a more concise description than I can give.

The reason I bring this up is because it sheds a light on a very troubling situation in the United States, and all over the world. This shows the lack of understanding and acceptance of people that don't fit the gender stereotypes we're so fond of shoving people into. Looking into the statistics for transgender suicide, one article I read said “a whopping 41% who are transgender or are gender-nonconforming have attempted sometime in their lives.” This is nine times the national average. And this survey was released three years ago.

I don't know anyone who's transgender. At least, I've never heard someone claim to be that or witnessed the kinds of prejudice that is sadly a part of daily life for someone who holds that they were born in the wrong body. I realize being transgender is more than that, but that's the way I know best to describe it.

Why is it we drive people to attempt, if not actually succeed, at taking their own lives? In Leelah's case, as witnessed by her suicide note, her parents cut her off from anyone and everyone who might have understood her. They forced her into counseling for her “problem”. They might have thought they were doing the right thing for her, trying to force her back into that little box their personal and religious beliefs thought she should be in. But she didn't fit. And in the end, all she could do to help others like her was step in front of a truck and die to open up the world's eyes to a problem that has been going on for a long time.

It's not just the transgender community who suffers from the stigma of being different. Those in the LGBTQI community are bullied and in some cases are forced by well meaning loved ones into therapy that does more harm than good. Suicide rates among teens and adults in the LGBTQI community are very high. Most of them are caused by constant bullying and assaults from their peers and total strangers. In some cases, the bullying can lead to death just by the act of the assault on its own.

I think Leelah is getting her wish. In the end of her suicide note – which was published on and then later taken down by Tumblr – she said, “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something.”

Her death has meant something. It's shedding light on something that people tend to try to forget exists. As Leelah says, gender needs to be taught about in schools. Not the “you must always be the same gender you were born” education. The “if you don't feel quite right as your given gender, there are others out there like you.” People need to open their eyes and realize that not everyone thinks or feels the same way as they do.

For those feeling suicide is their only option, there is a national suicide prevention hotline. That number is 1-800-273-8255. But now there is a transgender phone number found here. This is the website for the Trans Lifeline. The phone number they give is 877-565-6366. The hours it's opened are available on the site. It's hoped that if they're given a place that is sensitive to their needs, that more of the transgender teens and adults will look for different solutions than killing themselves.

I don't know the kind of hell these people go through that makes them want to take their own lives. I've had my run in with committing suicide, so I have a vague indication of the hopelessness they feel. But I know how hopelessness can steal away your will to live. I experienced that two years ago.

If you know a transgender person, offer them support. That should go without saying for everyone around you that is a part of your life, whether fleeting or long term. Think before you say or do something hurtful towards another person. Stop and try to see it from their point of view before you speak or act. Not everyone is going to be like you. Don't try to force them into a narrow little hole.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's goals

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! It's 2015, a new year with a lot of potential. It's that time of year when people think of what they want to accomplish. It's the season of the New Year's resolutions.

I don't believe in setting New Year's resolutions. They're made with sincerity, but some people just can't seem to follow through. Some of them are too vague to really have anything done. Others are complicated and too huge to tackle without some sort of plan. Those too fall by the wayside.

I do set goals though. I figure out the small steps to take to achieve them. I don't always achieve them. In fact last year's goals went largely unaccomplished. But this year I hope to do a lot better than I have before. I don't have very many goals but I think they're important ones. At least as far as my year should go. I thought I'd share them with you, in the hopes that by putting them down somewhere I can hold myself accountable better.

Goal #1 – Mend the faults in my character that lead to nothing but trouble for me.
Steps – Identify the faults, pick one to focus on until my habits change. Move on to the second one without letting my work with the first one fall to the wayside. Rinse and repeat until I've finished as many as I can in a twelve month period.

Goal #2 – Get a story or two to the query phase.
Steps – Identify which story/stories I want to query. Edit it/them. Find beta readers to look it/them over to find where I made my mistakes. Edit again with those suggestions in mind. Ask beta readers to take one final look at them. Pull a final edit.

Goal #3 – Query one or more of my novels.
Steps – Finish editing the novels. Write my first query. Read through the Query Shark archives to see her advice on other queries. Refine my query. Have someone else look it over. Once finished, research agents and their preferences. Adjust my query to fit those requirements. Send out the query letter with the other requested information.

Goal #4 – Continue working on my mental issues.
Steps – Update my insurance information with the doctor's office. Talk to my med manager and let him know when the meds don't seem to be working. Follow through with seeing my counselor weekly. Work on the things my counselor suggests that are supposed to strengthen me.

These may look overwhelming, but I have them broken down into steps and I think if I focus on each step separately I'll manage it.

Do you make New Year's resolutions? Do you set goals? How do you go into the new year?