Tuesday, June 3, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 10

I have officially given up on trying to figure out where I am in terms of my actual schedule for this writing challenge. Having to write in the media center is seriously throwing me even more off than I usually am. As for how far along I am on my goals... not nearly where I should be. I'm going to try for a huge push this month and hopefully still pull off finishing my first draft by the end of the month. Wish me luck.

This week's challenge question is about how I avoid burn-out. And I think that part of my problem with my entire project is that I don't have an answer for that. I think I AM burning out, and that's at least part of my problem. So, since I don't know how to avoid something that is already happening, I'll change the question a bit and explain what I intend to do about it, now.

Step one is to make myself a schedule. And start forcing myself to stick to it. So, for the rest of the month at least, my schedule will be as follows: Wake up, do my Pilates if it's a Pilates day, eat breakfast while I let myself surf the internet. Then spend an hour or two organizing my notes for that day's planned writing. Head down to the fitness and media centers for my half hour on the exercise bike and doing the things online that I can't do on this computer. And then spend the rest of the day writing. I'd like to try to write at least 2k a day, including making up for the days I've already missed, which will bring my total for June to about 60k. I think that may actually finish this thing. I HOPE that will actually finish this thing... Ideally, I'd actually like to try for 3k a day most days. That should take the uncertainty of if it will be enough out of the equation...

Yes, this ended up being another short post. It happens when I really have no answer for the prompt.

Also, I may be moving my blog, soon. It seems that there is absolutely no way to set this one up so that I'm posting under my pen name, while still having notifications about comments sent to an email address I actually check. So, for now, ignore the name this post is being posted under, and I'll keep you updated on moving it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 9

Hello, again. Last week was a bit better than the week before. But, I'm not going to lie, two days of that were spent writing a character bio for a role playing game I'm thinking of joining. But, I'm counting it as writing because of how detailed they want it - plus the fact that it somehow ended up in first person, like the character is telling you her own story. I've also almost finished the summaries of the scenes I have written so far. Finishing my rough draft by the end of June may take dedication, but I still think it's doable.

But, as for this week's question, you guys are in for a bit of a treat. This week, rather than answer a question, we're supposed to post an excerpt. I won't discuss how long it took me to decide what to post. My absolute favourite passage is from the climax - and I'd rather not give my ending away ;). So, instead, here's a little something from one of Catie's first times out in publlic after Eli's death. (I'm not giving anything away by that, one of Eli's biggest conflicts in the whole book is knowing that he's going to die, soon.) She's at a birthday party for a friend, and things are rough for her. One of Eli's friends has just told her to come by the recording studio some night for a talk.


"I'll have to do that. I seem to be acquiring a list of people that I need to talk to, lately."


"I'm still trying to get up the nerve to go talk to {the priest} about something."

"Afraid of him? Don't be. He's one of the good guys. He was a good friend of Eli's too."

"i'm not afraid of him. I'm afraid of what he might tell me. Adam says that he can tell me if I actually have Eli's ashes. I don't know if I'm hoping that I do, or that I don't. On the one hand, it would mean having the last of his mortal remains, which I do feel somewhat entitled to. On the other... It would make it very final, you know?"

"I can totally understand that. But better to know. What are you going to do if they aren't his ashes?"

"Possibly bust the damn bottle upside Seamus's head. Probably not. That would be suicidal. And I'm not really there. At least not right now." She stopped as she realized that Minnie wasn't the only one watching her. And some of them were downright staring.

William grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the room, closely followed by Laura. "What the fuck was that about? You're not there right now? Meaning you were before, or you could be eventually?"

"Honestly? Both. I was suicidal for a while after my daughter died. I'm not right now. But I'm not going to deny that part of that may simply be because if I were to commit suicide, then Seamus would win. Eli would want me to go on, and I'm trying. but I'm not going to put on a fucking mask and pretend that this is easier than it is. it is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I'm not going to sugar coat it. And honestly, if you're really that worried about me, you should be glad that I'm like this."

"Is that statement supposed to make sense?"

"Acting like this could really be a cry for help. Truly suicidal people don't want help. they just want to die. When Sabrina died... It was planning my own death that made me start acting normal, again. By the time I was ready to actually go get myself killed, everyone thought I was okay. To the point that nobody argued with me when I said I needed to get away for a while. By then, nobody suspected that I had no plans of going back."

"meaning that when ya start actin' normal again is when we need ta start worryin' 'bout ya? Oh that's just great. Are we gonna hafta have ya on suicide watch forever, now?"

"Is there a part of me that wants to just watch a sunrise and be done with it? yes, of course there is. maybe that is hard for you to understand, and maybe it worries you. But a part of me died with him, and I can't change that. I don't know what to tell you, right now. I loved him more than I ever thought it was possible to love someone. But 'loved' isn't actually the right word. It shouldn't even be a word at all. There is no past tense to 'love'. It's not something that goes away. And the death of the person you love certainly doesn't make it go away. I still love him. I will always love him. I could still be here when the sun explodes, and I will still love him, and I will still miss him. That's just how it is. Hopefully you two will never have to understand."

"So, what do we do for ya?"

"Don't leave me alone too much. Don't push, but check up on me once in a while. As horrible as I seem, right now, I really am doing about as good as can be expected, right now. I promise that I will get better. It's just going to take time. And I may never be the way I was. How can I be? I lost half of myself a few months. And I'm immortal. It could be millennia before I get him back. That's kind of hard to take."

Laura was pacing. "I don't want to have to put you on a suicide watch. But I don't want to lose you, too. You've gotta give us something."

"I don't know what else you guys want from me. And now I know how Eli felt talking to me before he went to England. I'm not suicidal, right now. I can't make promises about later. But, I've said this before, but it bears repeating. If I die, then Seamus wins. I will not let that bastard get away with this, and I will not give him the satisfaction of getting to watch me die, too. So, as long as Seamus is alive, I'm safe. At least from myself."

"Too bad he wants you dead."

"Yeah, there is that. We are going to have to do something about him, eventually."


Please ignore the typos, this is still in very rough draft form. It's not my FAVOURITE passage, but I like some of the lines, and I think that watching Catie try to come back after Eli's death is kind of heart-breaking. I hope you guys enjoyed it, at least a little bit. And this has given me the idea that maybe once the first draft is done and in order, I could start posting little mini-excerpts. Not as long as this one, but longer than the old 8 sentence Sunday snippets I was doing before. Hopefully people will find them interesting enough - because otherwise I'm in trouble. ;)

Yes, this is very late. I wrote it several days ago, but then I've been away from the internet for most of the past week. I'll try to get the next one posted tomorrow to catch up.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 8

We're just not even going to discuss my progress last week. I really don't know that I wrote anything beyond my blog post. It was just a bad week, all around. So, let's just skip ahead to this week's question.

My writing inspiration. I'm taking this to mean something more than my inspiration for my actual stories - especially since I'm pretty sure that there was a "where do you get your ideas" question a while back. And I am also pretty sure that we did the "why do you write" question. So, obviously this question means something a bit different than either of those potential meanings for the word "inspiration". I'm taking it to be a kind of "writing role models" kind of question. So, that's what I'm going to answer.

And the big one, for me, is Anne Bishop. I have lost track of the number of times I've read her Black Jewels Trilogy. Often enough that I read one set to destruction and had to buy new ones. (unfortunately, I have also lost track of who I lent it to, so I need to replace it, now). And it still affected me just as much on the most recent reading as it did on the first. I cannot read those books without crying - and laughing. And that is what I want for my readers. I want them to care about these people so much that they cry at the sad scenes. I want them to know these people so well, that they laugh at innocent seeming lines, because they can just imagine the looks on the characters' faces. And I want them to want to read it more than once. I want my books to be the old friends that readers turn to again and again.

I know that's a pretty tall order. And I know that I am no Anne Bishop. But it is certainly a goal to aspire to - to want to have the same effect on my readers that she had on me. While I can't credit her books with making me want to be a writer - I've wanted that for so long, I couldn't begin to try to remember what originally inspired that - she has definitely inspired my writing ever since discovering her.

There are others that have had a similar effect on me - Mercedes Lackey, especially The Last Herald Mage series; Anne McCaffrey's Acorna and Pern series; David Eddings Elenium series (and whatever the sequel to that was called, I seem to have forgotten it, at the moment.); a few others. But that is the one that sticks with me the most.

Anyway, that's my biggest writing inspiration. I'll talk to you all again this weekend with this week's check-in.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 7

I wrote this post a week ago. I have no idea why it didn't post...

So, I'm about 6 1/2 weeks in on my 90 day writing challenge. I'm not as far along as I would like to be, but that is at least partly because I have gotten to the point that I need some more organizational work before I can do more actual writing. I think I'm still on track to finish the rough draft before the end of the challenge, though. Not where I originally wanted to be, but way further than I was when I started.

This week's question is about what kind of writer I am, whether I'm a plotter or a pantser, character first or plot first, what kind of structure I use, that sort of thing. Now, how to answer those questions...

As for the plotter or pantser question, I prefer to look at it another way, because I'm really neither. I see myself more as a navigator, planning a cross-country trip. In a way, all writers are, the question is how do we plan that trip? Some, the pantsers, just point the car in the general direction of the destination and go letting themselves kind of drift across the countryside, as long as they're still heading in the right general direction (heck some of them don't even know the destination, and just let the characters or story drive). Others, the plotters, map out their route and only deviate if they run into a road that got closed. I'm somewhere in between. I have a map, I've even planned a route, but if the characters want to take me on a few detours along the way, or decide that taking I-55 doesn't work for them and they'd rather head a little east and hop on I-57 instead, fine. (Yes, I'm aware that both of those highways go north and south, and therefore aren't really great for a cross-country trip, but they're what's closest to me, and what I could think of off the top of my head.) As long as we keep heading in the right direction, and get to where we're going with a minimum of side trips, I'm okay. I've heard my writing style described as being a "plantser", but that word just sounds so odd to me.

I write very character-driven stories. The plots are little more than a way to explore these characters and see what makes them tick. As such, I usually start with the characters. Eternity's Price started as me wanting to tell Catie's and Eli's story. I've changed various things in the plot, adding things here, taking away things there, tweaking some other things, all to find the best way to show their love story. The whole POINT of Eternity's Redemption is my muse decided that Ana was a fun character and wanting to explore what made her the way she was. Eternity's Promise didn't even HAVE a plot beyond very nebulous ideas until I created Livvi for Magic's Curse, and Magic's Return is really about watching the vampires who used to be mages dealing with suddenly having their full powers back - and the oddest love triangle, ever. Let's just say that Rory's girlfriend is... interesting...

And finally, the kind of structure I use... And for that I have no answer. I don't think these are Hero's Journey kinds of stories, but that is the only plot structure I could actually recognize if I saw it. So... I have no idea what kind of structure I have. Maybe one of you guys can tell me, someday...

And that's it for today. Tomorrow I will post this week's check-in which will be about my inspiration for writing.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Have hammer will fix part 2 - or why I'm sitting in my apartment complex media center

So, I said on Monday that I would tell you guys on Wednesday about my latest computer issues. As usual, I'm behind schedule. This should not surprise anyone. But this time it isn't ENTIRELY my fault.

On Thursday, my laptop stopped charging. This really should not surprise me. I believe I mentioned before that I actually broke the cord that came with it over a year ago. I keep getting replacement chargers, but they keep burning out. This latest one spent three days making me play "jiggle the cord to find the sweet spot" (which sounds so wrong when I look at it) before it gave up the ghost. On a brighter note, with three days warning, I think I salvaged most of my stuff.

I was able to transfer a lot of files to dropbox - now if only my desktop could get into my dropbox account. And when I realized that I couldn't get into dropbox from my desktop computer, I put my book and all of my notes files onto my flash drive, so I was at least able to salvage that. That and screenshots of my Spotify playlist so I can work on getting my music back, and I'm still in business. With a few caveats.

You'll notice that I mentioned not being able to get into Dropbox? My desktop is over a decade old, it's running Windows XP, and is incapable of running anything that will allow me to use a "modern" browser. The only browser I can get to work on it is incompatible with probably 75% of the internet, maybe more. I can still surf, so I can get research done. But dropbox and google drive don't work. Almost anything that has a form to fill out doesn't work. My BLOG doesn't work - which is why I'm sitting in my apartment complex media center, right now. Because I can't even post to my own blog from my computer.

Though I think the thing I miss the most is Twitter. I swear I went through withdrawals over the weekend. I'm hoping our family garage sale is soon, because I'm using my money from it to buy ANOTHER charger, and hopefully getting my laptop back. Then I REALLY need to find a job, and my first few paychecks will go to replacing both of my computers so that I have two fully functioning computers again. Because this is getting ridiculous.

Anyway. That's my latest in the saga of my stupid computer. Tomorrow I'll hopefully do my writing challenge check-in.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 6

And I'm once again behind. But this time, I have a good reason that I will tell you all about on Wednesday. As for my writing, I am nowhere near where I wanted to be. My new goal for the challenge is to just have a finished, organized first draft by the end of it. And at this rate, I may rethink the organized part. In the process of recreating my spreadsheet for Camp Nano (I'll explain why I had to do that on Wednesday) I discovered that there were four days in April that I never even opened Ywriter. Now, one of them is probably actually the day I wrote the scene summary that got eaten, and therefore another one might be the day I spent backing up my back-ups. But I have no idea what was up with the other two. I admit that I did not write anything on Easter. I kind of expected that to happen, though. I've lowered my goal for Camp Nano to 50k, and I'm currently working on scene summaries, that I'm counting towards that. That may seem like cheating to Nano purists, but right now my goal is more about getting the thing finished than an actual word count, anyway. And the scene summaries are vital to that, since they're how I'm going to put this story in order once I have a (semi)complete rough draft. I had to put the "semi" in there, because I'm sure that there are whole scenes that I skipped, but I won't know that until I have this better organized.

Now, on to this week's question. "What do you do when your current writing project no longer holds your attention like it used to? What do you do when that shiny new idea cries out for you?" Honestly, I never imagined that this would be a question I would have an answer for. At least not while working on this project. But it's been going on for soooo long, now. And I now have notes and even a few random scenes for future books in the series written. Which is what I do. I'll write enough that I know I won't forget this great idea and then go back to my current project. I now have a couple scenes for Magic's Curse (Book 4) written, along with notes on the plot of that one and Magic's Return (Book 5).

And that's it for today, I think.  Come back on Wednesday for  the latest in the saga of my stupid computer, and on Friday  for my next check-in where I'll tell what kind of writer I am.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's in a name, part 2 - naming characters

I know I said I was going to write a review of Aeon Timeline today, but I haven't done enough playing on it to be able to do that. Maybe that will be next week's post. So, instead I'm going to talk about something we were talking about on Twitter yesterday - character names.

I am a goof when it comes to naming characters, I admit that. I changed Catie's name like three times. It wasn't until I started calling her Catie in my head instead of Mia that I knew I had her real name. Eli, on the other hand, was always Eli. Though I did change his last name because his original last name just didn't seem to fit his station in life. A former Duke with the last name "Bennet"? Not so much. Other names just jumped out at me, and I ran with them. I think the funniest in terms of where it came from is Adam. What better name for someone that is so old even HE doesn't remember how old he is than the supposed first name EVER? Some of the characters have a joke that for all they know he's THE Adam. My muse periodically jokes that if we ever pair Adam off, we should name his girlfriend Eve. It's times like that that I wish it was possible to glare at yourself.

With characters from all over the globe, and ages ranging from William's childe who is eighteen to Polly and Nicolaus who are around 1300, to Adam who quite likely has a BC in his date of birth, naming them can get interesting. And it can be hard to find names that I like that fit both the nationality and the timeframe. I've decided that when in doubt, nationality trumps timeframe. The older ones may very well have adopted more current versions of their real names at some point in their history. And that is my official story for any characters whose names are far too modern for their age. (This is also an advantage of doing Eternity's Redemption as a frame story, since the frame is modern day and the rest is their memories they could be so used to their current names that they even think of themselves as those names when remembering their pasts. Or something like that...). With Eli I actually tried to get time right, too. And turned to the best repository of old names I could think of - the Bible.

Now some writers like to give their characters names that relate to their role in the story. I could never understand that. I mean, it's not like their parents knew what they were going to be getting up to later on. I decided instead to just give them names that I liked and could imagine their parents liking.Last names, though, were another story. While looking for a last name for Seamus I found a last name that actually means demon-spawn. I officially don't want to know where that name came from, it frightens me. But it made me think. And combined with the fact that Catie's last name can be literally translated to "new Earth", an idea sprung up.

I have time mages. In fact, my entire premise involves a group of them that saw this final battle coming and have spent the past 1300 years preparing for it. Well, maybe they actually saw it even sooner than that. I am now looking for last names based on the theory that back when last names were being handed out there were time mages who had already gotten a glimpse at the roles these people would play in this battle and named their ancestors accordingly so that future mages would know which family lines to keep an eye on. It makes an odd kind of sense in my Universe. In fact, it even fits in with the curse on Polly's and Nicolaus's family that their magic doesn't work on each other.

So, that is part of my naming characters project. Finding last names in the appropriate language that has a nicely meaningful meaning that could have tipped off those in the know to watch this family.

What about you? Do you follow any particular naming conventions or have your characters's names mean something in the story? And for those of you that aren't writers, what do you think of books that either do or don't have meaningful names?

Monday, April 21, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 5

Okay, we're going to pretend that I'm writing this on Friday just because... LOL Last week, I actually wrote every day. I got a couple great scenes written, and some summaries of other scenes. I've lowered my Camp Nano goal down to 50k and am mainly working on organization, right now. Though some of the scenes I've written lately are real tearjerkers. I've been crying my way through my writing, lately, which is oddly fun. Now on to this week's prompt, my characters.

First up are Catie and Eli, of course. As the MC's, they are of course the center of the whole book. I love them to bits and their relationship is fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking. They are ridiculously cute together, but there are some things that just make me cry. But, what can I say about them that most of you don't already know? After all, I've been talking about them for most of this blog. So, I'm going to move on to characters you don't know as well.

And so we'll go to William. While I've written a bio for him on here, already, there is still a lot that is not on there, about him. I love him because he's so different from Catie and Eli. Which makes him fun to write. He's a sarcastic, snarky bastard. But his heart is in the right place. As a young former soldier, he's the most knowledgeable about modern warfare. When it comes time to start planning for the final battle, William is their strategist. He's also the one that first starts to figure out what kind of war is REALLY coming. He's a lot smarter than he lets on, preferring to hide his intelligence behind a back-hills dialect among other things. Eli even calls him out on being a fraud because of that. He becomes Catie's best friend other than Eli and is the rock she leans on when things go horribly wrong.

And then there's Polly. Polly is the second oldest person in the city. A 1300 year old woman trapped for Eternity in a 10 year old girl's body, she'd be an enigma from her age, alone. But she is also a seer, the younger sister of time mage Nicolaus. It was her visions that put the events of both Eternity's Price and Eternity's Redemption in motion. I've nicknamed her "creepy girl", and the only characters that aren't at least a little creeped out by her are Nicolaus and Adam. She talks in riddles, and just basically drives everybody crazy.

And one last character I want to talk about today. I haven't named him yet, and so his name is currently "comic relief". This man cannot be in a scene without making me laugh. From calling Eli "Ellie" to commenting on how easily he "burns" in the sun, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I just laugh at him, all the time.

I could talk about my characters for days. But I should probably spend some time actually WRITING my book, today. So, I'm going to end this here. Come back on Wednesday for a mini-review of Aeon Timeline, a program I just downloaded today to make a timeline for my novel.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Have hammer will fix - or why I hate my computer, sometimes

I hate my computer, lately. But in my defence, I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual. We’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship for a while now. But every once in a while, it pushes the bounds of that relationship. Today is one of those days. It has once again eaten my novel. I’m sure that at least most of it is in here, somewhere. I am currently too tired to go looking for it. Also, depending on how much was lost, I may throw things. Hopefully the most I’ve lost is the scene summary I wrote yesterday. I can dream, right?

Okay, I know that at least part of my problem is that I don’t back-up enough. If everything was also in my dropbox folder, or on my flashdrive, or even saved elsewhere on the computer under a new name, I wouldn't be freaking out, like this. But my last back-up was before Camp Nano started. I’ve written 30k since then. I know that I need to back-up more often. I admit that part of my problem is just forgetfulness. I FORGET to back-up. But, I need to start doing that. My new writing resolution is to back my novel up every night before bed. To my flash drive, to dropbox, and by creating my own sequential back-ups by creating a new folder with the date every day to have a second place right on my compuyter for it. Then even if the file gets corrupted before I back it up, worst case-scenario I’ve lost a day.

Okay, I worte the first half of this on Wednesday, then got tired and went to bed. So, here it is, Thursday, and I can give an update. I made a new folder called back-ups and I spent the day moving the auto-back-ups from Ywriter into that folder, organizing them by date. And, I lucked out. The back-up from Monday was fine. So, all I’ve lost is the scene summary I wrote on Tuesday. I’m not fully organized, yet, but I AM fully backed up. It’s a start.

Another issue I have with my computer, and this is NOT just me being stupid, is the need to restart it at least once a day. This wouldn’t be such a huge deal, if Chrome wasn’t also stupid. Here’s my issue with Chrome. It has the option to re-open the tabs/windows that were open before when you start it. The problem is, that it only opens the tabs in the last window to close. And even if you right-click and tell it to close all windows, it still closes them one at a time. And so, it will only re-open the last window to close when you told it to close them all. And so, the only way to get Chrome to work properly, is to not shut the computer down, properly. I restart my computer by turning it off and back on at the switch. So basically, I am breaking my computer because Google can’t grasp the concept of re-opening every window you had open, unless you do a force shut-down. I’m considering posting on their help forums to find out if there’s a work around for that, that doesn’t involve me spending an hour combining, and then another hour uncombining browser tabs...

Anyway... Project for tomorrow is to write my 90 Day Writing Challenge check-in post. Which is going to be awesome because I get to talk about my favourite characters. Rather than the backstories (except for where they’re important to understand the character) I’ll be talking about their role in the story and  why I love them. It will be a fun post. I’m also going to finish the scene I had started on Sunday, and hopefully do some more scene summaries. Write club should help with that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge week 4

Time for my weekly check-in. I did miss one day, last week. Sunday I had to kill off a beloved character, and writing a death scene from the POV of the character about to die is.... rough. But even harder was watching his girlfriend have a nervous breakdown afterwards. I tried to write that scene on Monday, but didn't get very far. And then Tuesday, I just couldn't seem to make myself do it at all. (Or maybe I have that reversed. I can't even remember, anymore.) I did finally get through it on Wednesday, crying like a baby the entire time. What made it that much more interesting is that I was WATCHING it happen. I used a POV character other than the one having the nervous breakdown so we get to see it from the outside. I think that in some ways, that may have made it even more heartbreaking. Poor William had no idea what was going on, and could only sit there and watch it all go down. I think it works much better this way than it would have from her POV. Anyway, that's what I accomplished, this week. Word count wise, I'm so far behind that updating my word count just makes me sad, but hopefully I'll be able to catch up.

So, this week's check-in is supposed to be about why I write. (Even though some of the others are confusing me by writing next week's blog post this week...) Ahem. Anyway... I write because I can't not write. It sounds simplistic, but there it is. I write because for all that I'm a procrastinator from Hades, I feel bad when I don't. I am in love with these characters, and with their stories. They make me laugh and cry and want to throw things. But mostly, they make me NEED to tell their story. Because it's the only way to get the voices in my head to shut up for a few minutes.

Okay, I sounded schizophrenic with that last sentence, but I think that maybe all writers are a bit schizophrenic. After all, we all have all these other people living inside our heads, telling us their stories so that we can share them with the world.

Okay, next week's check-in will be longer, because I get to talk about some of my favourite characters. And meanwhile, on Wednesday I'll hopefully remember one of the blog posts that were writing themselves in my head, yesterday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The start of Camp Nano

So, Camp nano started on the first of the month. I was already behind by the end of day one, and so have been forgetting my blog in my so-far-unsuccessful attempts to catch up. Though at least I'm not the only one that is just not doing well, this year. I know of two other people (besides myself) who have already lowered their goal. I started out wanting to write 150k, I've lowered that to 100k. I'm on track to write 60k...

I don't know why I'm having so much trouble with it. I've gotten to the more fast-paced, holy-crap-is-this-really-happening? part, which SHOULD be easier to write. Though, it may also be because in a way I don't WANT to write this part. After all, it's also the sad part. Watching someone have a nervous breakdown is never easy, and being the one responsible for it is even harder.

I do have a slight out, though, in the form of scenes I know I accidentally skipped from the first half that I can turn to when the second half gets to be too much for me. If I finish this next scene today, maybe I'll "reward" myself with one of the less angsty scenes from earlier in the book.

I'm also going to play on the word wars board looking for word count pub crawls to do. having the entire Nano forums to be responsible to for getting a decent word count should hold me accountable, sort of.

In other, completely unrelated, news. I'm working on a role-playing website. I'm kind of hoping to have that ready to start in May. But, the book takes precedence, so the website may have to be put on hold for a bit. We'll see. Maybe I'll make my reward for hitting a daily goal be doing something on the site...

And I guess that's all for now. Come back on Friday for my 90 Day Writing Challenge check-in and why I write.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week Three

Okay, this week has gone better than last week, at least. (For all that I totally forgot to write my blog post about it.) I'm not meeting my Camp Nanowrimo goals, but at least I've been writing every day. It's definitely a step in the right direction.

My writing space and ritual... Usually I write while sitting on my bed. Because quite frankly, I pretty much live in my bedroom. One of the side effects of living with my parents is that I rarely leave my room. I also don't really have a ritual. I do like to write in 30 minute sprints, unless there's a scene that I'm really going like gangbusters on. Or the reverse, if I'm having trouble with it, I'll keep muddling through because I hardly got anything in those 30 minutes. Today I'm going to try doing a word count pub crawl from the Nano forums to try to start making up what I'm behind on.

Okay, this blog posts sucks, because I just don't have an answer to the question asked in the prompt. I can talk for DAYS about my story and characters, but I'M not really that interesting... Oh well. Come back tomorrow for my "start of Camp Nano" post that I am going to be 8 days late on...

Friday, March 28, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week Two

Okay, so, I'm a week in, and I've already missed one day. On a brighter note, I have written two blog posts, a few really cool scenes, and a bunch of plot notes. I now have basic ideas for what I'm doing for five books in this series. And come up with names for four of them. I'll call that productive, and not beat myself up too much for the day that I was in too much pain to write. (TMI time: PMS + headache = OMG I think I'm dying.)

As for this week's question. Where I got the idea for this mess is kind of funny, really. Three years ago, I started in an online role-playing game. A week after I created my character, her "best friend's" world exploded, and she blithely informed me that she did NOT think of him as an older brother, as *I* had originally envisioned their relationship, but rather that she was in love with him. So, I got a lovely little baptism by fire as she threw me into a major bit of plot, including a relationship I had no intention of playing when I first started. Luckily, the guy that played her new boyfriend was pretty awesome, as were most of the others in the game, and I had a lot of fun playing with that. I played her for JUST under a year (her first day of play was March 1, 2011 and she died on Feb 26, 2012). But, their story was just so epic and fun that I got it into my head that it would make a great book. So, that's what I started out doing. Eternity's Price is basically a novelization of the plot of that game, with some changes, both planned and from various characters coming up with ideas for how to make it better.

And things snowballed from there. While writing the scene where Eli fights his Sire, my muse decided that Ana was a pretty awesome character in her own right, and I should write a prequel around her and Nicolaus. Chat logs from the game had me decide to pair another of my game characters up with one of the guys from the game (they had one scene together, and it wasn't even really him in the game. But it gave me a major springboard for a relationship between them). Interestingly enough, the MMC of Eternity's Promise was supposed to die at the end of Eternity's Price, he got a reprieve thanks to Dani. So, that was three. And then Katy Perry happened. I talked about it on Monday, where the idea for Book 4 - which I'm currently calling Magic's Curse - came from her song Dark Horse. Well, in fact, it wasn't just Magic's Curse that came about from that song. By the end of the weekend, I knew what had brought the mages to Sangue Collina, which gave me some kind of actual plot for Eternity's Promise.

My muse wasn't quite done, though. Her idea for how to end Magic's Curse made it necessary to have a fifth book. And it didn't take long to realize that the cliffhanger in that one gave me the perfect way to FINALLY tell Rory's story. She's a character in Eternity's Price that I've been wanting to write a book about since she showed up. She's a vampire who had been a mage before she was turned. Now, mages lose most of their powers if they become vampires. But, Magic's Curse ends with a huge magical power surge. It seemed the perfect time to bring Rory to the front by making the power surge give her all of her old powers back. That one is tentatively being called Magic's Return because of Rory getting her magic back.

So, to make a short story long, as my dad likes to say... My ideas came from a role-playing game and song lyrics. And from having a really annoying muse who nags me until I agree to things.

And that's all for today folks. Come back on Wednesday for my weekly ramble. I have a few ideas for that one, so not quite sure what I'll be talking about.

Monday, March 24, 2014

On what I laughingly call my writing process

I've been tagged by the lovely Tiakall to write a blog post about my writing process. I'm not sure I actually HAVE a process, but hopefully the questions in the post will help me focus and define this. So, without further ado:

What am I working on?

Most of you know the answer to this, and I talked about it at length in my last post. (I knew I was going to be answering the same questions twice this week.) My main project is a Paranormal Romance called Eternity's Price about Catie and Eli, two vampires who have been denying their feelings for each other since World War II. In the midst of their love story is a plot to try to prevent the apocalypse. As in, the main villain may or may not be the Antichrist. 

I have more books planned in the same series, though. And to some extent I've started writing on them, mostly a few scenes here and there, just to get them on paper before I lose them. So, in the order I have planned for them:

Eternity's Redemption is the prequel to Eternity's Price. It's the story of Eli's Sire, Anastasia, and his friend Nicolaus - the driving force behind the attempt to stop the apocalypse in Eternity's Price. Redemption scares me a little as a writer, because it uses a story structure I have never attempted before. It's a frame story, with the bulk of the story being told in flashbacks, that are not being shown in chronological order. And it spans 1300 years all total. It's a huge project, but it's a story that I think needs to be told.

Eternity's Promise picks back up where Eternity's Price leaves off. The battle of Sangue Collina has been fought, and the vampires and werewolves are all trying to get back to some semblance of normal (I love using "vampires", "werewolves", and "normal" all in the same sentence.). Catie's friend Dani arrives and starts a flirtation with Eli's friend Marcus.  But there's really no such thing as "normal" in Sangue Collina. A science experiment conducted by the German military during World War II had gone very bad. The results had laid dormant all this time, but something in Sangue Collina is reawakening it. 

And that's where I run out of titles. The next book shifts focus to the mages, though. The vampires are still in it, but this is the mages' show, now. Nicolaus has called for reinforcements. A time mage is no match for zombies, what he needs are necromancers and energy mages. But mages were not meant to so heavily populate one city. Livvi, especially, is a force to be reckoned with. Her time mage father had seen this coming and used his own abilities to speed up her training. But the power to level entire cities in the hands of a 22 year old girl in way over her head may not really be the best thing.

And reading through these descriptions, I'm starting to wonder if I really write Paranormal Romance, or if I write Urban Fantasy with a strong romantic element to it. Where is the dividing line, anyway? *Adds this to her research list* Anyway... I guess I should get around to the next question...

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

This is a really good question. I kind of wish I had a really good answer LOL. I try to tackle big topics.  My tagline for the series as a whole is "If you literally had forever, what would matter most to you?" And a big theme running through all of the books is the characters all trying to find their own answers to that question. Religion gets brought up more than once and is a fairly big part of Eli's life. The FMC of Redemption is a psychopath. That's actually the meaning behind the title. It's all about whether Nicolaus can fix Ana's shattered mind and redeem her. In Promise, we see what happens when we try to play God. And Livvi becomes an example of what can happen when someone with more power than she knows what to do with loses control. Plus, I'm straddling a line with my genre. I'm either writing Paranormal Romance with major, fate of the world is at stake here, stuff going on around them, or I'm writing Urban Fantasy with a romance as the main subplot. 

Why do I write what I do?

Well, it started out because I had two vampires grab me by the throat and refuse to let go until I agreed to write their story. Or at least that's what it felt like. And so Eli and Catie were born. While writing a scene with Ana, I fell in love with her and my muse decided that her story needed to be told. The other two came from various inspirations. This is what is burning in my blood, right now. I've tried my hand at other genres, but nothing else has ever gotten me so excited as this series does. It's like I've finally found my home as a writer. And in a way, I've come full circle, while also growing up. The first story I remember that I wrote was a horror story about... zombies. I wrote it in sixth grade. It was stupid, and childish, and really made no sense, but I wrote it, and my teacher liked it enough to have me read it to my class. And now, here I am, once again writing about zombies, and vampires, and werewolves. Only now it isn't horror, and there's a point to it. (And hopefully it makes more sense.)

How does my writing process work?

Usually, I start with a character, or two characters. Something about them speaks to me, and I start building a story around them. A song will inspire a scene, or a character, or the plot of an entire book. (My mages book started to take shape after hearing Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" and having two unconnected lines ("So you wanna play with magic" and "are you ready for a perfect storm?") connect in my head to create Livvi, and give me a great scene with some awesome lines. "There's a reason why energy mages are the ones that other mages fear the most. Livvi may not look like much, but you don't mess with someone who can tell the laws of Physics to go fuck themselves." is probably my favourite. The line is spoken by her boyfriend as an explanation of what is going on, because a freaked out Livvi is in the process of creating something like a hurricane - in Illinois.) Anyway... After I get some inspiration for a few random scenes, I usually have an idea of what kind of plot I have, or at least what the main conflict is about. I can make some semblance of an outline from there, though I don't always. Then it's time to fill in the rest. My first draft is very dialogue heavy, and I have a tendency towards long scenes. Those are both things I intend to fix in edits and rewrites. As for the writing process itself, I usually put a song that fits the mood of the scene I'm writing on repeat, put my headphones on, and let the music inspire me. Really, I don't know if I HAVE a writing process. I may have mentioned that way back at the start of this thing, but I don't feel like scrolling up to check. 

Anyway. This ended up longer and more... rambly than I intended, but it was kind of fun. Come back Friday for my weekly 90 Day Writing Challenge check-in where I'll talk about exactly where the idea for this story came from.

Tag, you're it

Friday, March 21, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week One

Okay, the 90 day writing challenge starts today. Week one's post is to introduce my project and give my goals. Those of you that have been following from the beginning already know the project I'm working on. But I'll reiterate for those here for the challenge. Plus, this gives me a chance to talk in more depth all at once.

So, as most of you already know, I'm working on a Paranormal Romance friends to lovers story called Eternity's Price. It's about two vampires, Catalina Terranova and Elijah Cavendish, who met in Italy during World War 2, and fell in love. However, for various reasons they never admitted it even to themselves, much less to each other. For the next 57 years they wandered in and out of each others' lives at irregular intervals, with both of them needed to keep on the move so nobody would notice that they weren't aging. Plus, Eli had a psychopathic vampire on his tail who wanted him dead. So, of course he had to stay one step ahead of Anastasia. Twelve years ago, in Calais, France, they had been together for a while until Eli saw Ana and ran, this time to America. For the next twelve years, Catie honestly thought that Eli might have been dead. A month before our story starts, Catie bites the bullet and hires a private detective to find Eli. The story starts with Catie arriving in Sangue Collina, the city that Eli has been living in for the past several months.

Things should be great after that. But, in a city filled with vampires, nothing ever goes smoothly. There are things going on in the background, things they don't know about. And before this is done, their entire world will turn upside down, and Sangue Collina would become a battleground.

As for my goals, as I mentioned yesterday, I want to write 150k in April, which should finish my first draft. Then I have 2 more months left to the challenge to work on fixing my timeline and starting a rewrite. I'd love to finish the rewrite and have it ready for CP's by then, but I know that the rewrite could take time, and I'm not going to beat myself up if it isn't there, yet.

And that's my first check-in for the 90 day writing challenge. Next week, I'll be writing on Monday, because I've been tagged in a blog hop type thing to write about my writing process. I wonder how many of the questions in it I actually answered here? Oh well. See you all on Monday.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Writing challenges

So, I have officially signed up for two overlapping writing challenges. They work well together, so it's not a huge deal, but oh dear Gods, committing to writing like this is scary. First up, is a 90 day writing challenge. It's exactly what it says on the tin. Write every day for 90 days straight. It starts tomorrow. And it is what's going to alter my "blogging schedule", yes I'm aware that I haven't been keeping to my schedule, anyway. But, the writing challenge involves blogging about my progress every week. Since the challenge starts tomorrow, I'll be doing my weekly check-ins on Fridays. Which means that when I get around to character bios, they will have to be on a different day. I will still be doing my Wednesday Rambles, though. I bought a book of writing prompts, so when I get stumped on blog topics, I'll skim through that to find something. Hopefully that will help keep me better on schedule. 

My second writing challenge coming up, is Camp Nanowrimo. I've set a goal of 150k because "5k a day is such a nice, round number". Also because I am a masochist. But really, it's because I am determined to finish this thing, and I'm hoping that the structure of Camp Nano will give me the boost I need. I seem to need someone to be accountable to to get anything done.So, yes. During April, I will be trying to write 150k words. While also, ya know, looking for a job and stuff. Let the games begin.

One last thing. I am doing research and will be moving this blog as soon as the 90 day challenge is over. Hopefully to my own website. I'll work on building the new one during the challenge and keep you all informed of what I'm doing with it. 

And that has been my ramble for this week. Come back tomorrow for my first blog of the challenge, where I'll be talking a bit about my project and what I hope to accomplish over the next 90 days.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Being a fan of your own work

I had a very interesting conversation on twitter today with one of my writer friends. I admit that we seem to be a breed apart, able to discuss and commiserate with each other on issues that would probably make most people roll their eyes at best, and start measuring us for the white jackets with extra long sleeves and far too many buckles at worst. After all, from the outside, many of us seem to have some form of schizophrenia, or multiple personality disorder, or both. Only another writer can understand the concept of figments of our own imagination utterly refusing to do what we want them to do. Only another writer can understand the idea of these same figments of our own imaginations keeping secrets from us. Only another writer can understand the tips found in writing books that involve things like sitting down and having a conversation with your characters. 

A non writer would scratch their head in confusion if we tried to talk about this sort of thing. After all, they're our characters, we created them. Getting them to do what we want is just a matter of writing it that way, isn't it? Oh, if only it was that easy. Other writers get it, they've been there. They've all had the character that dug in their heels and rewrote the plot to suit their own whims. Funny thing that only writers can understand, usually when we let the characters do that, they create something a million times better than anything we originally had planned. So, even if we COULD force them to do what we want, that wouldn't mean that we SHOULD. I have a character that you will meet as soon as I find a picture for her. She was supposed to be a bit player, a way to make something that happens later make a bit more sense than it would without her. But very minor, nonetheless. With five words, she turned that upside down and became not only a pivotal character, but one of the viewpoint characters in the prequel. Both books will be much better than they were before because of the new role this character gave herself. A non-writer wouldn't have understood that. They would have told me to take that line out if it messes things up. 

So, what does this have to do with my subject? My writer friend was talking about another blog post she read by a writer who felt a disconnect with fans and was told - by another writer - that "you're not one of them. Ever." That just makes no sense to me, and having a WRITER say that is a bit disconcerting. I am a fan of Eternity's Price. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be writing it. But, I'm more than that. I am a total fangirl, sometimes. I squee'd like a schoolgirl when Catie and Eli finally had their first kiss. I cried when they broke up. I did more squee'ing when they got back together. I wrote a scene last week that had me bawling. I wrote another scene that had me giggling like a maniac and calling Eli "adorkable". I also fully admit to being slightly in love with Eli and have semi-joked that I would marry him if he wasn't devoted to Catie. (And, ya know, a figment of my own imagination.)

I really think that it falls under the heading of "if you don't care about these people, how can you expect anyone else to?" So, if you aren't a fan of your own writing, how can you expect anyone else to be? I think that we SHOULD fangirl/fanboy about our own stuff a bit. That's the emotional involvement that will eventually suck our readers in and turn them into fans. And if you aren't fangirling/fanboying then why are you writing the thing? If there is nothing in your own book that makes you squeal in delight, or want to burst into tears, or laugh your head off, then why would I want to read this thing?

So, I'm sorry to that writer who gave that quote. But I don't agree with you. Because to me, saying that you aren't a fan of your own books is the same as saying "I write crap whose sole purpose is to make money. I don't care about it, and neither should you. Just buy the thing, I don't care what you do with it after that." And I just don't agree with that. I want my readers to CARE. I want them to laugh, and to cry, and to squeal, and wish they could live in this city and meet these people for real. If you don't want that for your readers, then why are you bothering?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coming out of the "broom closet"

For the past year or two, I've had a rather odd little ritual. Once every few weeks, I would go to my facebook profile page and stare at the Religion box for half an hour or so, trying to get up the courage to fill the thing out. Inevitably, I would chicken out and close the page. Monday night, I finally bit the bullet and filled the stupid thing out.

Why was this so hard to do? I guess that part of it is that I have several people, both friends and family, on my friends list that are rather devout Christians. A part of me may have been worried about offending them. Which is ridiculous. First of all... I write Romance novels. About vampires. Who have sex. Outside of marriage. And I SHOW THEM DOING SO. If I'm not worried about offending my more Christian friends and family with my genre, why should I worry about offending them with my religious beliefs? And second, I admit to sometimes being slightly offended by all the God-talk I sometimes get on my feed. So, if it's okay for them to basically preach their religion on facebook, why is it not okay for me to admit to mine?

Though, that brings me to another reason I was afraid to do it, before. I so don't want to be preached to about this. I'm sure that there are some who will try to tell me that I'm going to Hell, or even call me a Devil-worshipper. Umm... nope on both counts. I don't worship the Devil, and I'm not going to Hell. I don't even believe in either of those things. I'm also, unlike some Christians, never going to try to convert anyone. One of my biggest religious beliefs is that nobody has a right to tell anybody else what to believe. And I believe that that even goes for parents and children.

So, what do I believe? I'm still sorting some of that out. At least the actual religion, Gods and Goddesses, and rituals part. However, like most people, my religion does shape my moral code. The biggest thing is a little something called the Wiccan Rede. While there are aspects of Wicca that don't quite line up with what I believe, I LOVE the Rede: "An it harm none, do what thou wilt." It's like the golden rule on steroids, and I love it. "Why on steroids?" you ask? Because of the ways that "harm" and "none" can be interpreted.

Personally, I include myself and the planet in "none". I'm becoming a bit of an environmentalist. Both for the sake of my own health, and for the health of Mother Earth. I'm not much of an activist, yet, but I do my best with the things I can personally control. Some days I'm better than others, but I suppose that's true for everyone. I read a quote once, that pretty much sums up my feelings about protecting the planet: "We do not own the Earth, we are merely borrowing it from our children." We've spent the past several decades forgetting that little piece of wisdom and caring more about making our own daily lives a little bit easier than what kind of world we're leaving behind. Luckily the younger generation is starting to get it. If we can hold things together long enough for them to come into power, our children and grandchildren just might find a way to fix this mess we've made.

I am also totally against racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry of any kind. In a way it both amuses and sickens me when the religious zealots get all up in arms about things like gay marriage. Because I think that that issue shines a spotlight on the amount of hypocrisy there is in some of those religions. Maybe there are lines in the Bible renouncing homosexuality, I really don't know, I've never actually read the thing from cover to cover. But, I do know that there are also lines about not judging others. And let's not forget the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. So, for all the people out there trying to continue to outlaw gay marriage, maybe we should outlaw ALL marriage. After all, if you're supposed to be Christians, then that means that you're doing to them what you want done to you, right? So, if you want to make it illegal for them to get married, then that must mean that you want it to be illegal for YOU to get married, right? Isn't that what the ONE law your savior handed down to you is supposed to mean? I find it amusing that you'll pick out rules for everyone else to follow, while simultaneously ignoring the ONE thing that Jesus himself told you to do.

Okay, off my soapbox, now. Sorry, I just happen to get very passionate about that, which is kind of funny since it doesn't actually affect me at all. So, how does my religion affect my writing? I don't really know if it does. Catie is a Pagan, as is William, and maybe a few others. Eli is a very devout Christian, but he's non-denominational and actually practices the tolerance that Jesus preached. But his faith is a very big part of who he is.  The difference in religion is a total non-issue for them because they both understand and accept the other's beliefs and don't try to change each other. And maybe THAT is actually the religious stance I'm taking. That we can all co-exist quite happily if we would just learn to truly accept each other and not try to change each other. And maybe it's time we all tried.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Help me pick a facebook cover picture

So, I've spent the past few days playing around in GIMP trying to make the cover photo for my facebook page. My original concept was to have a cityscape, some text, and maybe a picture of a wineglass and/or a sword. (I had semi-logical reasons behind all of those elements.) Well, I found a picture I liked for the background, and added my text. And suddenly wasn't sure I really liked my concept. Plus, adding more than the background photo and the text would end up being VERY busy, thanks to cityscapes actually being rather busy pictures in and of themselves.

So, then it was time to play on Morguefile looking for inspiration. And I found it. There was a picture on there that was very similar to the background of the character Siggy I had posted on here a few months ago, only using hearts instead of circles. I fell in love with the idea, though I wasn't all that thrilled with the execution. But, since I had already done something very similar to that, I figured I could easily make my own.

Which I did. I found some great free brushes and made my own background image of floating hearts. Very romance novel-y, I think. And then while playing around with the top layer, I found two different colour schemes I liked. One was a kind of darkened rainbow effect, the other was a straight up wine/blood red colour. I also have three different fonts I like for one of the text boxes.

So, there is my dilemma. And that is where you guys come in. Here are the different pictures I made. I still need to do some tweaking of font colours, I think, but I refuse to mess with it any more until I know which picture I'm using, since that will likely affect which colours would work on it.

Picture 1, the cityscape with the question in Mirage Gothic:

Picture 2 the red hearts, with the question in Cloister Black: 

Picture 3, darkened rainbow with Gothic Ultra font: 

Ignore the green box in the corner and the little facebook banners on the top and bottom. I'm using a template to make sure I have everything lined up correctly, and obviously, getting rid of the extra layers from the template is going to be my last step. Please feel free to comment with any ideas, or suggestions you have. And if you think that any of the options need something more to them than what I have. Graphic design is NOT my strong suit.

And now for the polls:

Which font do you like better for the question at the top?

Which background do you like better?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Introducing: Ana

Name: Anastasia Delaney
Age: 372
Apparent age: 21
Height: 5'6"  Weight: 130
Clan: Basilius

Anastasia's family was titled, but her father had gambled away most of their money. In an attempt to get himself out of financial ruin, Lord Delaney looked for a rich merchant he could marry his only child off to. Anastasia didn't care to be auctioned off to the highest bidder and ran away when she discovered the plan.

After four years of making a meager living as a seamstress, she eventually met a very strange little girl named Polly who seemed to know things were going to happen before they did. Which is probably how Polly found her the night she was attacked. A blow to the head had left Anastasia barely clinging to life, until Polly and another woman Ana had never met before found her. The woman that Polly was with, Rebecca Carter, turned Ana into a vampire to save her.

Several years later, Polly introduced Ana to her brother Nicolaus. Nicolaus was not a vampire, but rather an immortal mage. Ana ended up falling in love with him, and was crushed when he left her one night, with no explanation. 

Two hundred eighty-two years ago, Nicolaus found her again, in order to tell her that Polly had been killed. Ana, by this time, had developed a vindictive streak. She vowed revenge against the vampire hunter that had killed Polly, and hired a mercenary vampire to kill the man. Instead of just killing the man himself, the rogue vampire killed the entire family, leaving only one five year old child, Elijah Cavendish, alive. 

Eighteen years later, that same child was at a ball that Ana was hosting. She tried to seduce him, and when that failed, decided to feed from him. She accidentally took too much and killed him. In a panic, she had one of her servants bring the girl he had been at the ball with to her room, and then she turned him. When he awoke, she offered the girl as his first meal and watched as he drained her dry. Then she altered his memories so that he wouldn't remember exactly how everything had happened.

For seven years he stayed with her. Until he discovered the truth about his family's deaths, how he had been turned, and that Ana had intended for him to kill Josephine. After he walked out on her, Ana vowed to destroy him. She spent the next two and a half centuries chasing him around the world, until the night he came looking for her.

About the picture: I just love Amanda Seyfried. And she looks exactly like how I've always imagined Ana. Yes, the picture is in black and white. I just thought it was perfect for her. Attribution: Amanda Seyfried 09 by gdcgraphics CC-BY-SA-2.0

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Legalities suck, sometimes

So, the reason I haven't blogged last week is because I spent the week hunting down new pictures for my blog. It occurred to me that it wasn't actually legal for me to have the pics I had up here. So, I got to spend a week hunting down Creative Commons licensed images to use. End result is that some of the pictures are even more perfect than the ones I had before. (Go check out Catie's new picture, OMG). Of course, some are not quite as perfect. So, it's a bit of a trade off. On the one hand, some of the pictures are not QUITE right, on the other, some are even better than what I had before, and I don't have to worry about somebody taking my blog down for copyright infringement. 

As a writer, and therefore someone who will have my own copyright protected material out there soon, not to mention the things already on this blog, I totally get the need to protect a copyright. But, as a blogger I can't help being sad about not being able to use some of the really great pictures I've found. So, I got up the brilliant idea that I could set up a Pinterest account for other pictures. Nope. The same legal considerations actually exist there, too. People just tend to ignore them even more than they do on blogs.

On a brighter note, I have found a great website for totally free legal images to use, and will likely scroll through there so that I can have an image with every post, now. I'm going to put a disclaimer up as soon as I figure out how to do that, but I'll put it here, for now. With the exception of the pictures in my Photoshop post, any picture that does not have an attribution in the post is from morguefile.com under a license that does not require attribution. I'll post a link to their license in my disclaimer once I put that up.

So, that's what I've been up to this week. Come back Friday to meet Ana. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My computer is possessed

Have you ever looked at your computer and wondered what in the world it was doing, because whatever it was doing was not what you told it to do? I am coming to the conclusion that this thing really does have a mind of it's own.

In the past few weeks my computer has:

  • Changed the home page - in both of my browsers.
  • Changed the default search engine in both of my browsers.
  • Downloaded and installed some kind of PC back-up program that gave me a pop-up every few minutes to tell me that my computer was not backed up.
  • Had the mouse buttons on the touchpad stop working, which left me spending an entire day trying to figure out how to get the computer to work without it. Mind you, the touchpad itself still works, just the buttons don't.
I've fixed everything except the stupid mouse buttons. I think those might be broken permanently. I just have no idea how any of it happened. The program install I'll concede might have been added in with something I actually TRIED to download. Especially since that started right after I did download something. But I have no idea what could have caused the other issues. What in the world can make a computer change home pages and search engines, on two different browsers all by itself with no input from the user? And I'm the only one that ever uses this thing, so I can't even blame it on someone else.

What about you? Have you ever had your computer decide to do things all its own?

Check back on Friday to meet Anastasia, Eli's Sire.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Introducing: William

Full Name: William King
Age: 27
Apparent Age: 24
Height: 6'2" Weight: 165
Clan: Rebellius

William had a rough childhood. Growing up in a rather backwoods area of Tennessee, money was always tight. And it certainly didn't help anything that his father was an abusive drunk. Planning a military career, he spent every minute of free time he had studying military tactics and past wars, reading everything he could get his hands on on the subject. In keeping with his plans, he joined the Army on his eighteenth birthday and was sent to Iraq. 

 During his second tour of duty, his platoon was on what was supposed to be a simple reconnaissance mission. The mission went badly and they found themselves under fire. With a third of the soldiers wounded, a retreat was called, but William and one other soldier chose to stay behind to provide covering fire so that the wounded men could be removed to safety. Both men were mortally wounded , but their actions enabled the rest to make it to safety. They were both awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for their actions.

One of the surviving members of the platoon was Enthralled toViktor Kovac, a member of the Rebellius Clan of vampires. A Clan known for being warriors, and for being passionate about various causes - each one had their own cause, it was the passion for the cause that defined them. He secretly contacted Viktor and arranged for both of the fallen men to be turned. After hearing how they had died, Viktor turned them without hesitation, and using his vampiric abilities on the coroner and funeral director, he arranged for caskets filled with rocks to be buried.

William was only with Viktor for two and a half years before a mage friend of Viktor's told them William needed to go to Illinois, to Sangue Collina. Not wanting to argue with someone who could see the future, Viktor sent William where he was needed. He arrived shortly before Christmas 2012, with no idea why he was there, but trusting that that was where he needed to be.

About the picture: I didn't actually have Jensen Ackles in mind for William, but I needed a dark and brooding type. This picture isn't quite as perfect as the one I had before, but it's still very "William". Attribution: "Jensen Ackles by Gage Skidmore 2" by Gage Skidmore under license CC BY-SA 2.0

Friday, January 24, 2014

When your family hates your genre

So, I tweeted a comment about my novel and the characters, which also posted it to facebook. My mother, who generally doesn't read anything I write, and has probably never followed a link in facebook to my blog, decided to comment - directly to me, not as a comment on the post - with "another vampire one?" She seemed genuinely disgusted with the fact that I'm writing a book about vampires.

I would say that it hurt, but I honestly don't care what her opinion is. This is what I am currently passionate about, so this is what I'm going to write. What upsets me, is that she can't even pretend to be supportive of the first thing I have ever been truly excited about in my entire life. I mean, it's my mother. Is it really so hard to try to pretend to care, or to be proud of me? (A post for another time, really)

But, it got me thinking. I wonder, now, how many other of my friends and family would hate my books on principle because of the subject matter. I know that my one cousin became disinterested after she heard that it was paranormal romance. But, I have others that I know would be interested, and are actually on my list to ask to be beta readers when I'm ready for reader impressions, rather than editing work. So, I really don't mind having some that might not even be able to bring themselves to read it. That's just the way it is.

An even more interesting thought, though, is the question of how many insanely famous and popular authors have members of their own families that just refuse to read their books due to hating the genre. Not that I have many delusions that I'll ever be famous or popular. But, the idea that this is something that can, and probably does, even happen to the greats is rather comforting, somehow.

I fully admit that my first thought when my mom made that comment was "Really? You can't be bothered to read my blog, or like or comment on any of my facebook posts, but you can give me a hard time about my choice of genre?" So, maybe it did hurt, at first...

So, what about you? Do any of you have friends or family that just refuses to have anything to do with your genre, even if it's something that you wrote? And how do you deal with it when they do?

And that's my weekly ramble. I'll be posting William's biography tomorrow. I know I'm behind, again, still trying to get back in the swing of things and keep managing to forget what day it is.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Being an introvert is not a disease

My mother is an extrovert. She NEEDS to be around people, she tends to get depressed when she's alone too long. Considering she's an extrovert that never leaves the house, you can imagine the effect that has on her.

And yet, she's always on ME that I need to get out more. And the interesting part is that she uses the fact that I'm an introvert as her reason for why I need to get out more. I think that she thinks that getting out more would somehow "cure" me of my introversion. I find this hilarious. The fact that I don't like to be surrounded by a bunch of people, and in fact NEED time alone in order to recharge is exactly why I shouldn't be given that time alone? She also worries about one of my nephews because he's also an introvert.

In her defence, it's probably a case of she knows what being alone does to her, and doesn't quite understand that it doesn't do the same thing to me, or to Justin. That in fact, we are the polar opposite in this. There's also the possibility that introversion could be seen as a form of social anxiety. It isn't, and I'll get to that in a minute. First, I want to explain the real difference between extroverts and introverts.

So, what is the actual difference between extroverts and introverts? It's simple, really. It's a matter of how we get and expend energy. Extroverts are energized by being around other people, introverts are energized by being alone. Being alone is mentally and emotionally taxing to an extrovert. For an introvert, being around too many other people is what drains us. Honestly, to look at it from an introvert's perspective, extroverts are a type of psychic vampire, draining our energy for their own use.

End result? While extroverts need to be around other people, because being alone is tiring for them. Introverts need time alone because being around other people is tiring for us. That's it. If you think of your own energy level as a rechargeable battery, it comes down to exactly how we recharge that battery. My mother needs to talk to people to recharge her batteries. End result is that she talks almost incessantly. Silence is one of the things that drain her batteries. I, on the other hand, recharge my batteries by reading, or playing online. For Justin it's reading or playing his Nintendo DS. One of the end results of this is that my mother's constant chatter just exhausts me. A recipe for disaster, I guess.

Now, back to the social anxiety thing. While social anxiety can be a serious issue, it is not the same thing as simply being an introvert. While most people with social anxiety are introverts, the reverse is NOT true. Being around other people doesn't actually stress me out, or make me anxious, it just makes me tired. And that is really the difference between social anxiety and introversion. The actual effect that being around people has on us.

And while introverts are often seen as shy, that is also not always the case. Though the differences can be much more subtle. And harder for me to explain, since in my case, I AM shy as well as being an introvert. It's a bit harder to explain the differences between two different parts of your own personality than between one thing that does describe you compared to another thing that doesn't. And... I'm not even going to try. If any of you are introverts that are not shy, please feel free to explain the difference in the comments. Or if you're one of the admittedly probably rare shy extroverts, you can also try to explain the difference.

I just want to leave you with a plea to the extroverts of the world. We introverts do not have a disease. We do not have to be "cured". Please, try to think about how you would feel if we tried to make you more like us. Dragging an introvert out into social situations without allowing us to get time alone to recharge is the exact same thing as if we decided that YOU needed to be "cured" of being an extrovert and put you in solitary confinement to force alone time on you.

And that is my Wednesday ramble for this week. (Admittedly a day late, but oops...) Come back on Friday to meet William, who eventually becomes Catie's best friend other than Eli.

Friday, January 10, 2014

It's good to be back

So, I haven't written in a while. Months, actually. Around six of them. That would be about half a year. The reason is quite simple: I was once again without a laptop, and my desktop computer is even more out of date than it was the last time I got stuck on it for a while. But, thanks to my sister and BIL and a gift card to Amazon, I have my laptop back, and hopefully this time it will last until I can afford to replace the whole darn computer.

So, what have I been up to these past six months? I've moved into a new apartment. Three adults crammed into one two-bedroom apartment is... interesting to say the least. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, where I wrote 75,357 words. I could have written more, but... just look at that number. Isn't it pretty? Not all of that was on Eternity's Price. I also started on the prequel to it. Working on them simultaneously was kind of fun, because I'd write something in one that would give me an idea for the other one. I'll write more about what the prequel is all about in another post. And I became an aunt again - twice, in 2 minutes. My youngest sister had twins in August.

I used the computers in my apartment complex's media center to get on and do some organizational work on my blog. I've added some internal links, and things like that. And I'm currently looking (rather unsuccessfully) for something I can use to make character portraits so that I can take down the pictures that I have on my character bio posts. If anybody has any suggestions for free programs, either downloadable software or web applications, that can be used for something like that (and that isn't almost impossible to figure out), I will love you forever. Hmm... How about something of a promotion? Free copies of both Eternity's Price and Eternity's Redemption once I get them finished and in publishable condition to the person/people to offer the best solution to my dilemma.

Anyway, that's where I've been for the past six months. On Wednesday I'll restart most of my regular schedule. Trying to decide if I'm going to go back to Wewriwa or not. But, I'll be doing my Wednesday rambles, and my character bios. And I'm thinking of bringing back Positive Thinking Mondays. (And if there's enough people that want them, I'll bring back the Sunday Snippets, even if I don't do them in the format of Wewriwa.)