Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Writing: Slow, Cooking/Baking: Many New Recipes

I've slipped back into a planning mode.  I hate it when routine falters, but in the past week I've been busy with a lot of non-writing stuff.  There was problems with the AC, spending time deciding how to use all of my veggies from my garden, and feeling like I'm playing an eternal game of catch-up with the housework (thanks to my shedding puppy), and the tons upon tons of cooking/baking I've been doing.

Recently I've been working on perfecting a Lemon Poppyseed Scone recipe, and a good friend has been giving me authentic Chinese recipes to try out--and they've been a lot of fun, as well as yummy.

I'm hoping to back to my regular routine by the end of the week, but blog posts might be scarce till then.  Sorry!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Writing Progress: The Need for Flexibility

The Main WIP:

Silver Mask, my main work in progress is coming along. piece by piece.  It feels slow, but I've had to revisit my "thinking time" in order to catch up with the directions my characters are going in.  And so much is changing!

My last critique group helped me work out what scenes to include from my villain's POV.  Not my strong suit, writing bad guys.  I'm far less enamored with them than most of my book loving friends. But I understand the place of a good villain, in exploring the plot, world, and other things that my heroes might not be as exposed to.  So, I'm  giving it a shot.  But first it has to sit.  which I hate.  I just want to plunge in, but when I do that, before I'm ready, I get easily frustrated, disappointed in my own work. and so forth.

So Lord Koarv, my bad guy, gets to roll around in the back of my mind.

Meanwhile in the mental-work, I'm also working on the new climax/ending of the story.  I've played with a  few ideas, and one feeds into another old project that runs on a parallel timeline to Silver Mask.  I have to decide whether or not overlap will make sense.  If it does, I might get half way through Silver Mask, and switch gears to the other project.  That one should be significant;y shorter, after all, and then switch back and write the ending to Silver Mask.

Short Stories:

After my initial success, I thought I should revisit and reinvent some very old characters.  I figured, I knew most of their lives, the surprises would be minimal and I could keep it short.

Yeah. Right.

So Dezzine, my very first character is now leading me into a novella that should have been a short story.
The infamy she had in the original crappy child-scrawl has changed its nature, from one thing to something completely different.  That makes more sense, of course.

But also, the nature of the Curse, part of the history of one of the continents, has also changed.  I think this makes Dezzine and her story far more alluring, and fits the stories of this particular era into a better picture.

However, these events will play into the history that informs the project running parallel Silver Mask.  Likewise, the changes in the character Ethirin in Silver Mask made me revisit his people's history...

I know, complicated.  But the whole thing is changing for the better. It feels a lot like a rebirth of an idea.  

So, my progress might have slowed, but I'm on the right track.  And I'm focusing on more than one project---generally a bad idea, but for me, it often keeps me going while the knots in one WIP work themselves out.  


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Books: The Hidden Stars by Madeline Howard

I meant to finish the book by today, but I failed there.  So I'll discuss what I've read and follow up with the rest next week.

First Impression:

Howard's style is gorgeous!  Since I am a big-picture person when I write, and do all my tweaking after the fact, I am particularly enamored of writing styles that maximize word choice and achieve a sort of lyrical quality.

The oh-so-careful wording and sentence structure carried me very easily into her Celtic-inspired world.  In a genre where the "big destiny" to take down the bad guy is losing popularity, Howard still manages to pull of the old story form without a glitch.  I am feeling in no way that this story is something I have ready a bazillion times before.  

Rather, I feel that with her conscious story-crafting that I'm walking into a brand new legend.  

Though, because it is a modern tale and not an ancient one, I'm expecting some pretty big plot twists.  With a curse, a Destiny, and Immortals, I'm ready for a big story, and still learning who my main characters are 50 pages in (sorry, haven't gotten too far yet).  But I have gotten far enough to have a feel for the world, story's direction, and who I wanted my main character to be.  Which--since I'm with her right now, first time from this character's perspective, I think Howard planted that interest effectively.

Next week I'll elaborate on this, and look at the characters and plot (a touch) -- I'll do some vague summaries, probably, so I don't spoil anything for anyone interested in reading it :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TV I'm Watching: Eureka :(

Eureka is one of Syfy's "Hoarder" cliche shows, which seem to be beginning to disappear.  Eureka is going off the air and Sanctuary has been cancelled.  Not that I'm crying over Sanctuary, I couldn't really get into that one or Warehouse 13.

Eureka, on the other hand, I have found entertaining.  The last two seasons have had recurring guest roles from Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton--so I've certainly been enjoying everything they've added to the cast dynamic.  

But now we're on the count down to the end of the series.  I might be an episode or two behind, so the finale  was last night.

But if you want a fun, somewhat tongue-in-cheek SF comedy at some point, it's definitely something I'd look up on netflix.  Just don't expect something thought-provoking and deep--it's more about the character development, humor, and scientists that create inventions that should be innocuous but never ever actually are.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Week

So after an attack of laziness and general feelings of being "unwell" I got back to business last Friday, beginning with housework.

I don't know what it is about housework, but whenever I've felt the need to assert more control over my life, or if I've been sick and suddenly regained energy, or anything of that ilk--the first thing I do after overcoming a slump is housework.  Dishes, laundry, cleaning mopping and the sort has just become one of those therapeutic things that I never used to value, but over the last few years have become increasingly important for the sake of keeping me...sane, I suppose.

During my laziest day last week, I lapsed into childhood and indulged in a Hulu anime marathon.  Persona 4, which was a game made into a pretty fun and enjoyable anime, that went a long way to making me feel better.  My first ever marathon was Sailor Moon at about 13 or 14, one summer time, off of VHS tapes I had received for my birthday (I believe). I watched a whole season/cycle in a day, and had never watched so much TV before in my life.

My eyes stung, my head hurt, and I wanted more of the story.

My opinion on that particular anime has changed as my perspective grew more adult.  But as a kid, Unagi/Serena seemed to have it all: pretty, loved by friends, and was important to the whole world because she had this grand destiny and stuff.  A definite kid fantasy.

Now, I enjoyed Persona 4 because while it shared the emphasis on friend loyalty, it had much more complexity than something like Sailor Moon's Monster-a-Week motif. Including a mysterious serial killer.

I also picked up an old book off my shelves last week: The Hidden Stars, by Madeline Howard, and am definitely getting into this one! I'll talk about it more later :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TV: True Blood

The next season is definitely interesting...I'm liking the (likely) temporary hold on the love-circle..ish.  though, now she's moving onto yet another creature?

I have to admit--I didn't get into the books.  Sookie's trust issues, while understandable, were manifesting in too much annoying internal dialogue for my taste. I lasted into Club Dead...  I should probably just skip over it and try to finish the books anyway...

But I'm really hoping that the fairies can become a Big Bad.  Based on the kidnapping meets nightclub scene (that kinda reminded me of the opera house nightclub in Caprica's virtual world) I think they have that potential, though I guess they are trying to fill their ranks...

And generally, I'm just partial to an old-fashioned fairy story, so whether or not it's going to go there, I'd like to see more of the fairies scary side.

<3 Tara & Lafayette's characters, and I am curious what becoming a vampire will do to Tara, and how Lafayette will reign in the demon...

Jason is finally growing on me, though in the past he inspired too many facepalm moments...

But I have enjoyed this series.  And I think my favorite aspect of it right now is the Bill-Eric team. :)

Monday, July 9, 2012


I've been  spending a decent chunk of time making things, hoping to sell them.

Debate going on in my head:  Yes, I've been down this road before.  Why is this time different?

It is different because I have found a somewhat silly, but relatively simple project that comes out very nicely:

Napkin rings.

I'm making beaded and crocheted napkin rings right now.  I'm researching (again) where to sell them, or how to branch out on different internet storefronts.  I also have a few necklaces to finish up and then they will go up...somewhere.

I'll keep you posted, on the particular avenue I choose :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Writing Progress

I've been working on some short stories, a few which might end up novellas.

Two are off to receive critiques at the moment, and I can't wait to put them into shape.  I don't know how I'm going to release them, but I do plan to.  I  have a few ideas in mind, and when I make a decision--I'll post it!

Also, work on Silver Mask continues.  Just (finally) completed chapter 8 and I'm onto chapter 9.  Slow going, but, hey...it's going.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Geeky News

While I'm not generally a Microsoft fan (Nor am I an Apple fan), I must say that this keynote and product excited me.


1) The tech here will compliment my increasingly paperless home.

I have been doing more reading and critiquing on Google Docs than in another form.  The ability to use a pen to edit could help the screen adopt the same functionality as paper + pen, which is really a big thing to me.

2) The keyboard.

I do not own a tablet.  The guy's was a gift, but he uses his electronics mostly for reading (books/comics/blogs), listening to podcasts, some Youtube...so the accompanying keyboard has never been a priority and we never bought one...

I write and blog, waste time on social media, play a few simple games, Pandora and read (other people's writing, blogs, books).

In short I need a keyboard, and most tablets out there offer it separately.  So, I would have to save up for one device, get it and then save up for another?  No can do. The device would sit collecting dust until I had a keyboard.  At which point I'd wonder why I hadn't just saved up for a laptop?

Tablet v. Laptop:

I want something with the portability of a tablet, but the specs of a computer.

I am hard on cords, so I have determined I require either a desktop or a device that maintains a charge for a long time. I dislike buying 3 chargers over the course of the laptop's 5-yr life.  So, I have fallen out-of-love with laptops.

I would love a tablet that had laptop-like functionality, because I could use it as a computer, e-reader, I'd check e-mail and use it for cloud uses (reading/critiquing/editing/etc). but I just don't go very many places right now....and everywhere I go is running errands between 4-8pm...so this is more an "eventual" thing than anything


Microsoft very obviously omitted the actual cost. Which means this will be, no doubt, over-priced.  

Then Why the Excitement?

My guy is a lover of tech and has taught me something about it, well a few things:

a) never buy the first iteration of any new tech

b) if you love the tech, wait a year or two for someone to do it better

c) don't buy anything right when it's released, wait a few months at least, because when something newer circles the corner the price will fall--if not on the main websites, then as a sale on a smaller third-party site, Amazon, New Egg, or some other techie-e-store.

d) don't pay full price if you can avoid it, and most of the time there is a deal somewhere that enables you to get something for a much better deal.

e) always do your research, don't follow trends, and recheck all assumptions you have about a product before actually making a purchase.

f) Know your rights as a consumer, because with phones and devices that require contracts with a telecom, there's generally a way to wield your contract and service to your advantage, you just have to do it right and be respectful to the people on the other end of the phone.  Remember, customer loyalty and retention is important to companies, especially when you select a smaller business (on a relative scale).

So I get excited about this stuff, when something comes out with more friendly specs, but I am not going to hop up and buy it.  (Sorry)  I'll maintain the excitement going forward, eager to see what the market will do with these ideas, and wait for something similar that's actually in price range to appear.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book this Week: Alloy of Law

Steampunk met Detective story met Fantasy and then came Sanderson's latest installment from the Mistborn world.

Awesome Stuff About this Book:

For any fan of the trilogy proceeding this, there are many snicker-worthy moments.  Your main characters from the 1st three books have become religious and mythical figures.  Are they still around?  After three hundred years?  In some form?  The book does seem to court these questions, and other than a hint of a scene at the end, it leaves us still asking.  Which, of course, means that I will wait eagerly for the second book.

Legacy of our original heroes:

The decisions at the end of the third book have dramatically altered not only the world, but how the magic works.  And we as the reader get to see the world created out of the dreams and decisions of our earlier heroes.  

I <3 the genealogy element.  Grew up around family members that had traced various branches of the family back to Europe, and I love the idea of characters being descended of other characters.  Though I also like how obscure he also made these lines, allowing for people to kind of muddle it even when they think they have records and a scientific understanding of exactly how this whole thing happens.

Lead Lady's random statistics:  I loved this tendency of hers. It gave us hints of how the world was constructed, her personality, gave greater insight into Wax (our main character) based on how he responded to her, and was just plain charming.

If your new:

The world, magic and everything is so dramatically different that you really don't need to read the first three to greatly enjoy this one.  But I suggest if you read this first, then go to Vin's stories, reread Alloy after.  

I am seriously thinking of rereading the Mistborn trilogy, and then following it again with Alloy--just so I don't miss a reference. More for fan-girl enjoyment than anything, mind.
Guns n' Magic:  

This is not a combo we usually see outside urban fantasy, but it works and works well here. The fight scenes get downright crazy, with the magic and guns working off each other.  I can't wait to see this sort of thing on a screen--it's definitely movie/show worthy.  

But first, there will be a video game :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TV I'm Watching: Falling Skies Season Two

A year ago my guy and I were waiting for new shows starting in the fall, and this is when it got fun.  The last few years have seen a rise in SciFi and Fantasy across small and big screens.  These shows have been more than an escape, I've found more than a few inspiring.  The acting and story lines have gotten me very attached to characters, no matter if they are super-serious or somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

Falling Skies was chief on our list, with Moon Bloodgood (whom we loved in the show Journeyman, which only received a single season) and Speilberg producing.  We were not disappointed.

The show explores humanity in the backdrop of anarchy.  The hopeful have banded together under a militaristic banner, the disparate and barely connected arms of a rebellion. The leader of the 2nd Mass is a retired soldier (I am forgetting if he actually made general before the aliens came), and his 2nd in command is a history professor, with three sons.

The prof, played by Noah Wyle, lost his wife in the initial attack and is doing everything he can to keep his family together. The first season his main quest was recovering his middle son from imprisonment/enslavement with the aliens.

The prof was the hope of the group in season 1. But all hints of what is coming after he has returned from a very traumatic encounter are indicating that he is turning cynical and he and the general are going to shift rolls within the group (though I doubt the hierarchy will be altered).

Ok--I am trying not to give anything away, look up season 1 if you haven't.  If you stopped midway last season, I just want to say it gets really good.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Project Idea that Hogged a Few Months

One of the things I love to do is cook.  There have been a number of alterations of my style and the content of what I cook the last few years.  I got into cooking specific recipes for awhile, and tried to blog, but realized that cooking is more of a lifestyle thing for me.  I constantly fail at taking picture of what I cook, and the failures went on so long that I became less interested in posting what I cooked.  

I no longer cook to specific recipes.  I can’t seem to follow cooking directions for the life of me--unless I am cooking with someone else.  I pull up one or two,use them as guidelines and plunge right in.  

I’ve made some amazing things this way.

But as things grew desperate last year I discovered a growing distaste for waste.  Much of what I have been cooking lately has included redressing leftovers.  

Michie, my dear friend who helped me plant my garden, and I have been working on  a new project.  It started out as a cook book and we are not certain what precisely it will become.  

There have been some very awesome discussions, a few almost debates, over this project and it has me very excited.  The approach here is the idea that cooking, like sewing, gardening and other activities are part of a self-reliant lifestyle.  The idea is that in order to control our own futures, we have to make responsible choices now. Clearly, with the position I’ve been in the last year or so, the ability to take control of my life is incredibly appealing. I’m certain I’m not alone. And there could be a million reasons why an individual would be interested in some of these topics.  

When we figure out the direction, I’ll share more.  Right now, it’s in its infancy.