Monday, February 25, 2013

Computer Issues

So, the cord to my laptop somehow got all frayed - to the point that there is now a kind of hole in the thing. There is a section where the wires don't connect at all. I have no idea how this happened. It started acting up Tuesday night, where I had to keep jiggling it to get it to work, then part of the way through the day on Wednesday it broke the rest of the way. (I could have my days mixed up - somewhere in the chat logs I managed to salvage is the conversation I was having as the battery died.) So, when it stopped charging no matter what I did I got onto a mad dash to try to salvage stuff.

Thank the Gods for Dropbox, and that I already had it as a backup system. I started transferring files and who knows what else over to it to keep access to them and managed to get, I thought, most of the stuff by the time the battery died. I actually thought wrong. Turns out that just transferring the main file of my book from my writing program didn't quite cut it. All the other files in that folder were apparently what made the program able to read it. Lovely. Luckily, my sister's laptop is the same brand, so I was able to borrow her cord for a few hours and get the proper files transferred - as well as a few other things I had forgotten.

So, file wise, I think I'm okay. Of course, my new problem is that my desktop is old and cranky. In some ways it's actually somehow FASTER than my laptop, but there are still all kinds of issues. It's running an old version of Windows XP, which I can't get any "modern" browsers to work on. So, a lot of websites are not happy with me, right now. And this is one of them. I can't post comments to blogs - even my own. I can't seem to post pictures. Which means that Fridays' Introduction posts have to be done while my parents are grocery shopping and I can get at my mom's computer. Hence the later times, now.

A new laptop had been quickly making its way to the top of my list of things to get once I got a job - it has now definitely jumped to the head of the line. Between the duct tape holding one corner together, and the cord issues, I am totally done with the thing. Obviously, I'm going to start with a replacement cord so that I can also salvage everything else I have on there, but otherwise I'm done. (Actually, I'm probably going to get one of those universal chargers that comes with different attachments to use in different computers so that I will also have it as a backup charger for my new one once I get it.) As soon as I can afford to replace it, it's gone.

So, that's been my adventure this week. It shouldn't affect any postings except the time of day that I post Fridays' Introductions. (Knock on wood)

Come back on Wednesday for my normal weekly ramble.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors 2/24/2013

All right, time for my Sunday snippet. This time I'm going back to the very first scene. Catie has just arrived in town and met with the head vampire's second in command and been given the basic rules of the city. After he left, she was accosted by a man who seemed intent to rape her.

That was all she needed to hear. If he had wanted money she would have given him a couple hundred dollars and sent him on his way. A rapist was another story. It was time to teach him that he wasn't the only predator walking the streets at night. She grabbed his wrist and twisted it, making him drop the knife. "You picked the wrong person to mess with." Keeping a firm grip on his wrist, she whirled around and slammed him into the wall. She extended her fangs and lowered her head to his neck. 

From here on out I'll be going in order, though not consecutive. I'll probably go by scenes, giving a snippet from a different scene each week. Check out the rest of the participants in the Weekend Writing Warriors here

This is where I would normally tell you to check back on Wednesday for my weekly ramble. But, I will be posting Monday with the saga of my computer issues. So, come back on Monday to hear about why my posts may not be at my usual times for a while.

Edited to add: Attention fellow wewriwa-ers. Due to the computer issues I'll be talking about tomorrow, while I WILL be reading your posts, I am currently unable to comment. Hopefully I will have found  way to fix that by next week. But for now, know that I AM reading, just having some browser issues keeping me from being able to comment.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Introducing: Eli

Full Name: Elijah Carrington Cavendish
DOB: March 7, 1726
Apparent Age: 23
Height: 5'11" Weight: 140
Family: Basilius

Born the youngest son of a Duke in the outskirts of London. In 1731 he was the only member of his family to survive a raid on his home. He spent the next several years being shuffled from one family to another, finally finding a true home at the age of 10. In 1747 he met a young woman named Josephine Leighton who he soon fell in love with. After two years of courtship, he planned on proposing, however tragedy struck. The night he was going to propose, he instead was turned into a vampire by a woman named Anastasia Delaney, who then arranged for Josephine to be his first meal. Not yet fully aware of of what he had become, he ended up draining her dry, killing her from blood loss. He stayed with Anastasia for seven years, until learning not only that she was well aware of who Josephine was and that she had intended for him to kill her, but also that the raid that had killed his family had been arranged by her. He left her in anger, vowing to never have anything further to do with her. This caused Anastasia to vow to destroy him, and he spent the next 257 years on the run, constantly trying to hide from her. In 1944 while serving in a special unit of the British army, he happened to be in Cassino, Italy the night that it was bombed and helped another vampire named Catalina  Terranova save her younger sister and nephew. He stayed with them for about a month while pulling some strings to get Catalina's brother-in-law sent home. He wandered around most of Europe, always trying to stay ahead of Anastasia until 2001 when Anastasia found him in Calais, France and he ran to America. In 2012 he moved toSangue Collina, Illinois, and met a young lawyer named Esther Rivers. When Esther discovered his true nature, he took her under his protection and they became lovers. When Catalina arrives in March of 2013  he starts to admit to himself that he may have feelings for her that go beyond friendship. An admittance that wracks him with guilt when Esther is murdered a week later.

About the picture: I have no idea why my muse decided on Josh Duhamel for Eli. Maybe she just likes to look at him (not that I blame her). This picture isn't QUITE what I had in mind when I envisioned him, but it's close. Attribution: Josh Duhamel 2 by Jerry Avenaim under CC-BY-SA-2.5,2.0,1.0; Released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's in a name? (Or why I'm thinking of using a pen name.)

What do Maurice Micklewhite, Archibald Leach, Stephen Tallarico, Robert Zimmerman, Eric Blair, and Charles Dodgson all have in common? What? You say you've never heard of these people? Sure you have - just not by these names. So, let me rephrase my question: what do Michael Caine, Cary Grant, Steven Tyler, Bob Dylan, George Orwell, and Lewis Carroll all have in common? You guessed it. They all use stage/pen names. And that is, of course, just a small sampling. The full list is pages long. (It really is. The Wikipedia list was in three columns.)

Actors, musicians, and writers all have a few things in common. We all want to be famous. We all want to see our names... somewhere. For actors, they want to see their names in lights, whether on a Broadway marquee or in the opening credits of a blockbuster movie. Musicians want to see their names on the marquee at Madison Square Garden. And writers? We don't dream of bright lights. After all, we tend to be introverts who would pass out if met by thousands of screaming fans. We just want to see our names on the spines of books - lots and lots of books. But, there's one other thing that writers and entertainers have in common. For some of us, it isn't necessarily OUR names that we want to see. Some of us would be just as happy to have some name that we made up be the one that becomes famous. After all, WE still know who we are, even if the rest of the world doesn't.

The reasons for using a pseudonym vary. Everything from being easier to pronounce, to being easier to remember, to avoiding stereotypes and prejudice, to (especially for writers, who don't necessarily have their face out there) anonymity, to simply liking the new name better. After all, that's another thing we have in common - how many people get to pick their own name?

Personally, I've gone back and forth on it. Back when I was a kid I came up with Diana Godfree. Don't ask me where or why. I think it just popped into my head one day. Now it sounds kind of ridiculous to me. I went through a phase in high school where I was going to use my first boyfriend's last name. Recently, I've been thinking of just using my real name. And then I read The Time Traveller's Wife. And while I can certainly respect Audrey Niffenegger for wanting to have her real name out there - I can never remember her name, much less how to spell it, and I can't quite figure out how to pronounce it, either.

And this got me thinking about my own name. Let's face it, back when they were giving out last names in Germany they weren't thinking about 20th and 21st century Americans being able to spell them or pronounce them. And they weren't thinking about if they would even FIT on the cover of a book. I love my parents, but my name is just impossible. My last name has 12 letters - then they went and added Jennifer in front of it. Riiight... So, I'm now on a quest for a pen name. I had thought of just shortening my last name - but had one of my fellow Scribbers say that "Kling" made her think of Klingons... And of course after that was said, that was all I could think of, too. Which led me to trying to find names in my family tree. The obvious one, my mother's maiden name, is actually not a whole lot better than my last name. And it just gets worse going back in her family. (Please don't ask me my maternal grandmother's maiden name - I couldn't begin to tell you.) Okay, that leaves my dad's side. And... my paternal grandmother was born Evelyn Conrad. I kind of like the sound of Jennifer Conrad, actually. And right now, I'm leaning towards using that. Though, there's this little part of me wondering if I should try to find something a bit more... exotic. After all, I write paranormal romance. And Jennifer Conrad seems an awfully NORMAL name. Which is probably just me being weird, I know.

What's your opinion on the pen name question? Fellow writers, do you use or are you planning to use a pen name? What was your thought process that led you to the decision - whether you use a pen name or your real name?

And that's my semi-coherent ramble for today. Come back on Friday to meet Elijah.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors 02/17/2013

Today is my first week participating in the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop. Seems like an interesting idea, and I'm looking forward to reading the other posts. The concept is pretty simple - post 8 sentences of your own writing, then go around to the other participants' pages and read and comment on their posts. I'm going to be posting snippets of Eternity's Price, the paranormal romance I'm working on.

I had a hard time deciding what to post. I knew that I wanted to do something from Catie and Eli's first scene together, but there were a few different snippets that I could have posted. I eventually decided on the last 8 sentences of the scene. A bit of background: Catie has just arrived in town, and has gone to see Eli, who was not expecting her. His reaction to her through the whole scene is kind of funny, I think, but the last few lines really summed up what has been going on with him. So that's why I chose to post that part.

He nodded, then stood up to give her a hug. "I'm glad you're here. And I hope that you decide to stay."

She smiled at him then walked out of the office.

He sat down and put his head in his hands. What the hell was wrong with him? Catie was one of his best friends, and there were about a million reasons why it needed to stay that way. But she walked in that door and for one second it almost seemed like his heart had started beating again. 

Just a little note for the wewriwa folks. This is a work currently in progress. I'm still writing the first draft, so it  may be a bit rough. Any comments or critique are more than welcome. And for everyone else, check out the other participants here

Finally, check back on Wednesday for my weekly ramble.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Introducing: Catie

Full name: Catalina Amelia Lombardi-Terranova
DoB: September 16, 1908
Apparent Age: 25
Height: 5'8"    Weight: 135
Family: Basilius

Born in Cassino, Italy to a family that claimed to have been directly descended from the Lombards, though she always suspected that was an affectation. After the death of her daughter in 1931 she left Cassino, and eventually found herself in a town called Novara, where she volunteered at a small hospital, working nights in the pediatric ward. There she met a young nurse named Sophia who was MUCH older than she looked. Sophia ended up turning Catie into a vampire in 1933 and spent the next 10 years teaching her everything she needed to know about what it really means to be immortal. Catie then returned home to Cassino to keep watch over her family - from a distance of course. When the town was bombed in 1944 she was able to rescue her younger sister and nephew with the help of another vampire named Elijah Cavendish, but watched helplessly as her parents' house exploded with them in it. After spending the next 69 years wandering around Europe and Asia, she arrives in Sangue Collina, Illinois, USA in March of 2013, looking to reconnect with Elijah after having lost touch with him 12 years ago. And things are never the same for either of them, after that.

About the picture: I was writing Catie's first scene, that included her turning a guy who tried to rape her into a little snack, while my mom was watching Castle. I had my headphones on so I couldn't hear the television, but every single time I glanced up, Beckett was on the screen looking all ticked off. By the end of the scene, Catie was looking like Stana Katic in my head. Attribution: "Stana Katic Splash" by Tyler Parker is licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0

I'm changing my posting schedule due to getting involved in a blog hop. I have joined Weekend Writing Warriors at So Sundays I will be posting 8 sentences from my book, I'm moving my normal rambles to Wednesdays, and keeping my Introducing... feature on Fridays. 

Come back Sunday to see Eli's reaction to finding out that Catie is in town.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Art of Creative Procrastination

We all do it. Find interesting ways to pretend we're doing something productive while not actually getting anything done. One of my newest methods of creative procrastination actually led to what will be a regular feature of this blog for a while. Someone at Scribophile coined the term "casturbation" - essentially it's deciding who you would want to play your characters if your book ever got made into a movie. So, I've been having fun with that. So far I have "cast" both of my MC's and a currently unnamed character that is temporarily being referred to as "the second puppetmaster." So, my way of turning this little act of procrastination into something semi-productive is that I'm going to have a feature on here where I introduce my characters and I'll include a picture of the actor I can see in that role.

Speaking of names, that's another of my favourite forms of procrastination - trying to find the right names for these people. It took me weeks to finally name my FMC (Catalina, Catie for short). Of course, in my defence that was at least in part because I kept coming up with names that I liked for a time, then decided didn't really work. I am now running with the theory that the fact that I refer to her as Catie in my head rather than Mia (her boyfriend's pet name for her), means that I have found her real name. And I have also finally named her boyfriend, and we won't discuss how long that took me, either. (Elijah, Eli for short) And yet, other names just came to me and stuck. I don't pretend to understand.

And finally, my last favourite form of creative procrastination is to look for pictures, not only of the characters, but of the settings. So far, I have pictures of Eli's office in the Club and his office at home. I have a ton more to find, but it's kind of fun. I'll also include the settings in my "introducing..." feature.

Finally... I am hereby setting myself a schedule. Mondays will be my days to post a normal post on my writing process and things of that nature, and on Fridays I'll introduce you to a character or setting.

So, what's your favourite method of "creative procrastination?"

And that is my semi-coherent ramble for today. Come back on Friday to meet Catalina