Greetings

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Hello,

I'm Deborah. I'm a writer, currently seeking representation/publication for my YA Fantasy Fractured Princess

I love to play Final Fantasy games and Shattered Pixel Dungeon. I also enjoy the many ins and outs of music (I'm a chorus geek).

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quick Voiceless Update

Hello!

I wanted to stop by before the week ended, because I did say I wanted to post at least once a week. Last week I got a cold, from which I thought I had recovered by Saturday, so I went out, taught my Zumba class (I'm a Zumba instructor lol), and felt good. Halfway through the day, my voice starting cracking. At a party later that night, it was completely froggy. By 2am Sunday morning, I was mute. And I still am. I also have bronchitis. Yay.

So there has been a lot whispering, a lot of bad sign language, and a lot of jokes. Family is great (sarcasm). Hopefully my voice recovers. I feel quite useless at the moment.

Anyhow, Christmas was good. Got money, Justin Bieber perfume (it smells really good), and Game of Thrones Season 1! Ooh, also PJs, why aren't I wearing those right now? I forgot that quickly about them.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas, and I hope to see everyone in the new year. :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Element of...AHHH!!

I know I'm silly. I can't help it.

To explain before I even begin, the first movie I remember seeing was Carrie. I may have been 5. My older sister used to watch Tales from the Crypt and loved Nightmare on Elm Street. I used to have nightmares of Freddy Kruger. I've seen Stephen King's IT over 11 times. I watch the Shining any time I know it's on. I loved the Scream trilogy (I didn't see the 4th, so I still call it a trilogy). I've even seen Trilogy of Terror (and laughed) and I think it was Brides of Dracula (and laughed. I'm laughing now, thinking about that bat on a stick).

I love horror movies. I used to read nothing but Christopher Pike when I was a younger teen. I went through a period in my writing where I was sure that I was going to be a horror writer, paranormal horror, contemporary thrillers, urban fantasy. I don't remember exactly when I stopped, probably around the time I got into fan fiction, but even then I think I had an element of thriller in my earlier ones.

In my current fantasy WIP Save the Queen, I returned to that touch of "Ahh, Jesus!" because it is something I grew up with and something that comes naturally to me. I like that although it is a fantasy, there are moments that can freak a reader out or make them nervous about what comes next.

A lot of non-horror movies are good at doing this, one of my favorites being Serenity. It's a Sci-fi movie, but every few turns, you had Reavers popping up, and what's worse than people who are 100% aggression, murder, and rape? Putting them in spaceships.

What's your favorite non-horror book/movie that has an element of horror?

Monday, December 10, 2012

What I Need & Need to Do

Okay, so if you look at my post timeline, it's like 1st day...Same day...2nd day...Three weeks later...Same day...Two weeks later...3rd day. lol I want to regulate that. No, I don't want to post three times a week (geez, kudos to you who do that!). I would like to post at least once a week, though. So, I'm going to try to look through some blog-writer themes to give myself something to do each week. So far, the first Wednesday of each month is the Insecure Writers Group meeting, which I missed last month, but here's to hoping I get that right from here on out!

I'm also going to try to visit AgentQueryConnect more consistently. They're a big help over there, and I like the sense of community with writers all around the country (world? is it international?).

Another thing is, I need beta readers. I remember there being a site for this, and I don't remember what it's called. I might even have it bookmarked. I had someone lined up as a crit partner and never heard from her again, so...yeah. I can e-mail the one beta reader I had, but I know she's busy, so the chances she's gotten to stop and read may be slim. So I'll be trying to advertise a little more to drum up interest.

Here's hoping. :)

That is it for now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

IWSG: Ennui

I knew there was a link to this somewhere!


So I've fallen into this weird ravine in my life where I used to have all the energy in the world to look at Youtube videos I subscribe to, read Tweets from the Writerverse, read blogs (though I was bad at that to begin with, so I would catch up on 10 at a time from a 2-week span), and write, and now I'm just like...

mbleh...

That's a legitimate emotion right there.

I don't know if it's the weather, the end of the year, a very sneaky and quiet fraction-of-life crisis because I have those every few years, or just me being me to the extreme, but I don't feel like doing...anything. I also think it's a bit of "I have a degree, and I can't get a real job with it" and "I've been writing all of my life. What if I never get published?" and "Am I ever going to move out of my mom's house because this lady is killing me?" One big melting pot of insecurities depressing my emotions into something that I can manage because I'm a spazz and would probably freak out like that little girl from Morewood High School who had to be the best even though she wasn't, so she killed her roommate who was the best (Sarah Hyland, Law & Order: SVU "Hothouse", best actress ever. Youtube it).

On the bright side, there are ideas awakening in my pseudo-stoner brain right now, plans for 2013 and what-not. So perhaps I won't feel like this for much longer. *Cross fingers*

Monday, November 26, 2012

If I never see another turkey...

My mom couldn't have bought a bigger bird this year. She decided to cook at our house, and we expected about 30 people. 20 came. The macaroni & cheese was gone by Day 2. There were two sweet potato pies and 3 cakes still out on Day 3. There were still two bags of turkey on Day 4. I'm still full.

So now that that is over, this week I am on Slim Fast to get off the pounds I was supposed to have been getting off already, now topped with the 8,000 pounds I gained on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Stuffed Saturday (yes, I made that up). I wil be exercising with Julia & Jaana's Core Rhythms, NYC Ballet, and Neena & Veena's Fat Burning Bellydancing. God knows I need it.

I don't want to even type the T-word anymore. It's a curse. I curse you, bird.

Monday, November 19, 2012

El Dia de Accion de Gracias

Because in Spanish you just can't say Dia de Gracias. You have to be acting on it. lol

Anyway, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and there are many reasons to be thankful, so I shall list some of mine ahora.

I'm thankful for my mom, who let my sister and I back into the house after we graduated and didn't snag that publishing job right away. We live rent-free, as long as we work, and as we struggle with bills and things on two our lower-class salaries, she steps in to help and sometimes forgets that we owe her money.

I'm thankful for my sister, who is my best friend, the Ashley to my Mary-Kate (many people still don't realize we're not twins). I want to throttle her every other day, but that's what sisters are for.

I'm thankful, as I tell God most days, for waking up sorta-sane and with good health. I'm thankful that I have a job and a place to live when many people don't.

Most recently, I'm thankful that I finished the first draft of my second book, and that I was given the gift of writing and dreaming. The world needs more dreamers.

Enjoy your turkeys, tofurkeys, and turduckens!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My first novel was an X-Men rip-off.

Do I always do 3-for-3? I feel like I do...Oh well. lol The quirky Cassie Mae was Too Scared to Close Her Eyes in this Q&A session, then tagged anyone who had time to do this. I work in a slow office, so heeeere I go! :)


Do you ever close your eyes when you're writing?
Only when I stop typing first. lol I have to visualize a scene sometimes, so I do close my eyes to picture everything.

Do you listen to music while you write? Before you write? Or neither?
It depends on my mood. Sometimes music is distracting. Other times, silence is.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or many projects at a time?
I used to work on multiple projects: when I got stuck on one, I'd work on another. But like this last instance, while I was intensely working on a project and stopped for NaNoWriMo...it just didn't feel right. I was also working on a short story I realized, per my last entry.

Do you know when you've started writing something special? Or do they all feel special?
I think I do. Halfway through, if it's crapola, I realize it's crapola and get depressed. lol

Are there projects that you couldn't imagine changing anything in the story? And on the opposite of that, are there projects where you could shrug about change and jump in and do it?
I used to think so (regarding the first question), but I've changed so much in my fantasy WIP that I never thought I would, so now I'm all "never say never!" Nothing is definite. So, no, no problem changing things now.

Do titles come easily for you? Or are they more difficult?
I sort of chuckle when I think about it because my working titles are usually the names of the main characters. So I'm going to go ahead and say they're so difficult that I just give up and say MC1 and MC2.

Did you know you wanted to be a writer when you started your first book?
I did.

Do you think your first book will be published? (I know this is a REALLY rude question to ask someone who is working on their first book ;-))
Did you ever see VR Troopers or Tattooed Teenaged Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills and think to yourself, "This is a rip-off of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers"? My first book was a rip-off of X-Men. lol Does that answer the question?

Are there favorite places in your house where you like to write? Or do you get more work done when you go somewhere else?
As long as I have something to write in or on, I'm okay anywhere.

And there you have it folks! Have at it if you have the time. :)

*SIGH* Oh, NaNoWriMo...

I think I failed last year. lol I don't even know what I was trying to work on last year!

I know this about myself but tend to forget this about myself that I'm a short story writer. I've so far gotten a novel out of myself by happenstance and vision. So I realized the story I started to work on for NaNo this month wasn't going to be a 50k piece by Day 3. I actually surpassed the 1,667 word a day for Days 1 & 2, for which I was proud!

However, that was all she wrote (literally).

Had I had thought ahead, I would've probably started that Middle Grade fantasy I've been talking about since I mentioned it, oh, I don't know, 7 years ago? But I have extreme blinders on. Maybe I'll still try to work on it this month. I feel that it definitely needs an outline, though. Can't pants this one.

I will keep you all posted.

(For my AQC readers: The seed is strong. ????)

The Next Big Thing (Week 23)

I was asked by the awesome Aaron Bradford Starr to participate in the tradition of So You Think You Can Write a Novel: The Next Big Thing edition. It was a great honor, and I don't think I've done a Q&A about the novel I'm currently querying and have thrown into the trenches for the New Visions Writers Award Contest. *prays*

In the Q&A, we share what possessed us to write these novels. lol I'm almost sure mine are weird, if not a little different, so I'll dive right on in.

1- What is the working title of your book?
Save the Queen.

2- Where did the idea come from for the book?
It actually started with a very elaborate dream I had, and since either most of my dreams don't make much sense and/or I'm not that great at oratorilly telling my dreams to people, I wrote this one down so I could show my sister. Part of the dream became the opening sequence to the story, and another part of it was usable for a later chase scene.

3- What genre does your book fall under?
Young Adult Fantasy.

4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is the trickiest question for me, because I started this story when I was 18 or 19. At the time, I knew I wanted Zoe SaldaƱa to play a supporting character. I've unfortunately made that character younger at this point. As I got older, I wanted Jodelle Ferland to be the main character with Kristin Kreuk as her mother, but then I decided to make my main character black, so that went out of the window, too. I haven't even homed in on any male actors yet.

So long story short, I have no idea who would be playing my characters in a movie rendition.

5- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The princess of a dead race and her watchmen journey to defeat a vengeful spirit from the future.

6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would prefer an agency. I want to be certain there are people out there who can see my vision, and throwing it out to the wolves on my own--there's no guarantee either way, but at least if I find an agency who believes in my story, I'm one step closer to knowing there are others who will, too.

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The short answer is 8 years, 4 of which I was in school. I also edit and proofread while I write. A bad habit, I know, but I'm an English major.

8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The voice and character atmosphere is very similar to that of The Enduring Flame trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. I was very fortunate to stumble onto these books last year. There's a formality/Olde English-y mixed with familiar/today language that I feel both my and their stories possess so that you get a little of both worlds. The series was also pretty dark, not even underneath it all, it was overcast. As you get deeper into my story, I feel the same thing happens. There was some truly dark stuff going on that the world had forgotten about or just didn't know about, which is why the story is happening.

9- Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I took a year off after high school because I didn't want to go to college. Since I couldn't find a job, I played Final Fantasy IX and X just about every day. I realized I wanted to write a story as if the story from a Final Fantasy game, that obviously hadn't been created yet, was adapted into a book. Like how they made The Spirits Within. It wasn't a movie adapted from one of the games, but it had the same elements of a Final Fantasy video game. I wanted to write a book in the same way. My working title is even a weapon in many of the games.

10- What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Well, if they like FF games, see #9. lol Otherwise, it's on the shorter side of an epic tale. My goal was to write a short fantasy. You get what you want, not what you'd rather skim over. I don't have the attention span to drag things out, and as a reader, I know how frustrating it is when you want to get to the point, but it's 50 pages away. Someone (don't know who) once said to write your novel so that there would be nothing to edit out in the movie adaptation, and that was how I wrote it. There's no filler. It's just the story.

Next week, November 14th, tune in to SC Author's and Revo Boulanger's blogs for another edition of The Next Big Thing.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

And now, a brief Halloween story.

In the First Grade, I went to school dressed as Disney's Snow White, but despite having the exact costume from the movie, everyone thought I was Red Riding Hood...

Happy Halloween everyone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Poetry-A-Day Blog Migration

I don't know why I feel the need to, but I'm moving my PAD entries into another page or blog. Clear some space. lol

This wasn't really a necessary entry, but...well it's my blog. XP

Deb McK's Poetry-A-Day!
http://debmckspad.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

OHMYGOD I got a PERSONAL rejection!

So, you think I'd be sad, right?

Well, no because I honestly hadn't expected to hear back from this company, so when I did it was a pleasant surprise plus one!

First, there was an apology for taking so long to get back. The reason was because the two agents were juggling my manuscript back and forth between them trying to decide one way or the other. Second, when I thought for a moment, "Did they really read it?" (and actually, they also misprinted the title in the subject, so I wondered, lol), the agent told me what parts he wanted to know more about, what parts needed clarification, and how he felt I had a different take on fantasy and he wants a copy when I get published!

If I had been having a bad day, this e-mail would have brought me up so much. I feel really good that 1) I got a personal response and 2) that potential was seen in my little ol' story. I'm getting excited again just thinking about it.

I think the only downside is that I have to open this thing back up. haha I really need to search for some betas because he's the second person that told me--in a time where everyone's saying go under 100k--that they want me to expand on this story!

So for now, I think here's what I will do. I have to look at the points he gave me and apply especially the parts of clarification that are needed. I still want to submit to the New Visions Award, which is due by the 31st, so I will make the clarifications and submit. I will go from there on the idea of expansion.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Express Yourself: Language

Brought to you by Jackie at Bouquet of Books and Dani  at Entertaining Interests.


This is a blog hop and a weekly meme that the ladies above do. It gives me something to do today. hehe

I started learning Spanish in middle school, and I'm almost sure if you put me alone in a Spanish-speaking country, I could survive if they spoke slowly enough and I understood the regional dialect. So I'm okay with that.

I can honestly say there are so many languages I'd love to learn! I wish I had taken a linguistics course because all languages fascinate me. There's Latin, then the languages that sprung from it, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, etc. There's Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hawaiian! The many Native American languages! I'd like to have learned a little Nigerian, as my godparents are from there, but I never picked it up. I wish putting emphasis on learning other languages was still as important as it used to be. It still is for some countries. People learn 3 or more languages besides their own. How?! I think that's awesome.

As a fantasy writer and sometimes sci-fi, I also like using the languages I research or know to make up my own languages. My fantasy project is set in a world where almost each race has or had their own language, mainly based on the Romance languages. My sci-fi short story consists of people who used an abbreviated form of Spanish. I'm very loosely creating a language for the novel I'm working on as tribute to Octavia Butler's Fledgling. Everyone should try to make up their own language!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lianne La Havas (brief album review)

In case you haven't realized from some of my other posts, I love and live for music. In fact, I'm going to turn some on now, since I pressed pause and forgot that I did, so my MP3 player turned off.

What was I listening to? Well, Lianne La Havas, says the title. I happened upon her music while watching a Youtube video of Birdy covering "A Team" (speaking of which, I should listen to more Ed Sheeran). The ad on the video was Lianne La Havas. So I clicked it to go to her page and watched "Lost & Found," a very sad but beautiful song about what I can only describe as an awful boyfriend.

Lianne is another British usurper, and takeover has never sounded so wonderful. Her music is soulful, quirky, and lulling. Her current album Is Your Love Big Enough? takes us through the roller coaster that was her last relationship, from the break-up, to dating an older man, to getting back with the first boyfriend (I think).

My favorite songs:

Lost & Found - very memorable piano and sad melody
You broke me and taught me
to truly hate myself
Unfold me and teach me
how to be like somebody else

Everything, Everything - haunting chorus
There's nothing to say
Your eyes said it all
I'm not looking away
Your eyes hold everything, everything

Tease Me - neo-soulful, mellow, and relatable lyrics for a 28-year-old maid like myself. *wink*
I hate the way you tease me
I am not lonely, I'm all right

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group



Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/

Hello, my name is Deb, and I'm an Insecure Writer with Overly-Confident Tendencies.

(Hi, Deb. lol)

I try to keep my arrogance-that-spirals-into-depressive-self-consciousness in my own crazy head, but since so many others do it, at least I know I'm not alone. I'm one of those nerds who has been writing since they could spell more than c-a-t (though, I could spell encyclopedia at 7, but that's beside the point), so I have always felt that it's not something I live to do but something I do to live. *cue violins*

I used to read a lot more than I do now, but I do read a lot more than I did during and just after college, because seriously, WHO wants to after so much reading?? Like most writers, I got inspiration from the books I read and tried to imitate until I came up with my own ideas. My friends knew me as the writer, and some couldn't wait to get their hands on the next installment of the mutant stories I wrote from the time I was 7 to the time I was 14 (I grew up on the X-men cartoons). So I felt like I could take my skills to the bank and that no one could tell me I wasn't good. Even when I got to college and had to sit through classes upon classes of workshops (Oh, God, I hated those) and had to listen to people tear apart my work with my tongue between my teeth, I knew without a doubt that they were wrong!

So needless to say some of them weren't, and whileI spent the past two years revising and editing my fantasy WIP that actually got me into college in the first place, I love it, and I live for it, but the fear is what if no one else does? Will people get it? Will an agent love my QUERY (God, a whole OTHER issue) enough to want to read my first 3 chapters, and will they love my first 3 chapters enough to want to read the others? Will they like how I introduced a new place, and will they like these characters I've worked on for almost *gasp* 10 years? AND if they all DO...can I come back and write something just as great? Or greater?! In less than 10 years (because seriously, that was too long)?

And no, I promise, I don't write my stories the way I just wrote all of that up there.

I want to be able to take my "This is the best thing since the last best thing" attitude and be able to back it up. I know the way to back it up is to do it well and believe that you did it well, but I'm human. I'm a panicky second-guessing human. AHHH!

Thanks for listening. @}-;--

I apparently belong in Slytherin

I like to take quizzes, so I took one despite it being a Harry Potter quiz, of which I've never read and only seen bits and pieces of two of the movies. I got the feeling, though, that when a raven popped up as my "Patronus" (whatever the heck that is) and it said I'd be in Slytherin, I knew enough to know that's where the annoying evil kids are from. Man. I don't think I'm THAT mean, but it did also say my loyalty makes me
unique, so I guess not all the Slytherins are bad.

Here's the link, but know that it's about 30 long questions. -_-
http://www.helloquizzy.com/tests/the-what-is-your-patronus-test-1

My extremely detailed results:

Congratulations, you've scored the raven!
The raven is a rare result... You would probably belong in slytherin, but your loyalty makes you unique.  Congratulations!

"Who provideth for the raven his food? When its young ones cry unto God, they wander for the lack of meat."



More calculating than impulsive: You usually consider all options before making a decision, thinking the consequences through before acting on your gut feeling.


More apathetic than compassionate: You feel that you get what you work for.  If you don’t work hard, you don’t see the rewards; and most of the people who are in bad situations didn’t work hard enough and it’s not your problem or responsibility to help them.


More loyal than self-serving: You honor your allegiances and friendships, even when the consequences for doing so may be difficult to face. You keep your word and stay true to your friendships, relationships, and yourself.


More ignorant than knowledge-seeking: You know what you need to know in life and aren’t going to go out of your way to learn anything else.  You work hard enough at work, you don’t want to have to work hard to learn something for a hobby.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hookers & Hangers (W.I.P.)

So, I liked the idea of putting up the first (hooker) and last (hanger) lines of your work to see if they're memorable or can pull a reader into the work. I wanted to try it on my current W.I.P., a tribute sequel titled Ruby. It looks like it will only hit novella length, but that's okay.

Chapter 1 Hooker: We are Ina. I had heard those words so many times as I grew up that I didn’t know we were considered different until Momma told us her past.

Chapter 3 Hanger: Later that evening, the Vetrovs' jet crashed.

Chapter 4 Hanger: "Shower before your parents smell him on you."

Chapter 5 Hooker: Just as he said, they left soon after sunset.

Chapter 5 Hanger: “I didn’t want you to live in this kind of world…We’ll have justice. I swear it.”

Chapter 6 Hooker: “And just how do you presume to discover who the culprits are this time?” Joan Braithwaite asked Momma.

Chapter 6 Hanger: “Joel filled us in,” Poppa said. “We’re going to call a Council of the Goddess.”

Chapter 8 Hooker: We received clearance to travel up to New Brunswick on the fifth day of my restriction.

I'm currently working on Chapter 8, so that's all of the eventful ones, I think. :)

Quick Thanks

Hello!

I actually just wanted to extend a thank you to my Agent Query Connect Blog readers. On my Google-Blogger side, I only seem to have 1 follower (thanks, Lisa!), but I know over at AQC I recieve a lot of hits that don't get recorded here. So, THANKS GUYS!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

I need to get on the ball!

Alrighty, so I just learned of another blogfest, this one hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  Here is what you have to do! There's less than a day left. lol

Post your favorite genre in the following categories:
Movie
Music
Book
Plus a Guilty Pleasure from one of these categories.


SO, my favorite movie genre might be action/adventure. I love a lot of movies, but no matter the subgenre (fantasy, sci-fi, etc.) If it has action, I almost always watch it.

My favorite music is hard, because I listen to almost everything. I do love my rock, though, mostly classic and bands like Kings of Leon and Foo Fighters.

My favorite book is another hard one because I've read many genres and don't particularly have a favorite...but I will go with speculative fiction.

My guilty pleasure would have to be movies because I'm not really ashamed of the other stuff. lol I sometimes end up liking those TV-kids movies, like the Cheetah Girls 2 and Rags. The ones with music incorporated into them. I can't help it. I'm a kid at heart. :)

Make sure you stop by Alex's blog and the others who have signed up for this. I think I'm #179 or something wild like that. Enjoy your week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Birdy (Album Review)

I heard this little girl sing "Skinny Love" on Conan, and I fell in love!

"Birdy", or Jasmine van den Bogaerde (what a name), is 16 years old with the voice of someone so much more mature. I can't wait to hear how she grows. Her voice is like cotton, soft, smooth, and sleepy. I almost cried listening to it yesterday, but I was in my feelings, so...at any rate, her voice is emotionally compelling no matter what you're feeling while you're listening to it. I also like to imitate her accent when I sing her songs. She says ool (all) and stroowberries. lol

Her debut album Birdy is an album of covers, which if you asked me 10 years ago (geez 10 years) I would have said is a cop-out, but that's while I was listening to Joss Stone, whose voice I can't stand and music I can't stand even more. SO, when I went back to listen to the originals (haven't gotten to all of them yet) that Birdy covered, I shook my head and said, "Nah, hers is better." The arrangements are beautiful, and you (I) can't stop listening to them.

It's a very mellow album with only one fast song and many mid-tempos. If you're into dancing (not club but contemporary and lyrical) it's good for it. My favorite songs on this album are "Shelter," "Without A Word," "Youngblood," "White Winter Hymn"... I'll stop before I pretty much name the whole album. Birdy has inspiring piano skills. Maybe I'll get back to learning songs; I have to manage my time better.

I'm almost sure her album is available to listen to on Spotify, but I'm not sure because I bought it right after listening to clips on Amazon. You can also subscribe to her on Youtube. "The A Team" is a great song she recently put up.

This album gets 5 stars from me. I leave you with my favorite line from a song that I actually didn't list as my favorite.

People help the people
And if you're homesick
Give me your hand, and I'll hold it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Winning!

hahaha

Anyway, while I have a TON of blog entries to read (I don't know how they're piling up!), I have actually won two contests in which I've won books and swag! :o

The first is from an old friend of mine, Christian Wynn, who self-published The Holiday Hotel (Jack Taylor Cases, vol 1.) this past April. Here is the blurb from Amazon.com:

Jack Taylor and his mother are still struggling to settle into their new lives without Jack’s father as they journey to his hometown for the holidays. Jack’s mother is clinging desperately to happy memories, but she doesn’t seem to remember that she’s repeating the same day over and over. The same bizarre repeating day brings Jack to a small town, where he finds an unexpected ally in an aspiring investigative journalist who has had a few strange days of her own.

Their investigation leads them to the Holiday Hotel, and the two young people discover that the imaginary characters from their favorite stories are more realistic than they ever could have guessed. In this wondrous hotel for vacationing holiday spirits, Jack finds himself caught up in an otherworldly mystery that threatens to destroy his world along with theirs. With the help of his new partner, an alluring fortune teller, and a few benevolent spirits, Jack uses his crackerjack detective skills to help him solve his first case and come closer to unraveling a deep family secret of his own.
I'm very excited to read this, first because I didn't know Christian wrote a book (I lost touch with a lot of people when I bounced around colleges)! Second, the fantastical element is really cool, seemingly a play on the Ghosts of Christmas, but the Spirits of Mother's Day and Father's Day. I won the book and some posters! No idea what I'll do with the posters, but they're cool to have. hehe
It's available in ebook and hard copy at this Amazon Search result page.
And this week, I won some swag from my AQC friend Terri Bruce, who just released her book Hereafter! I can't wait to buy the book (though I have to lol). For commenting on a blog during her Virtual Tour, I won 2 postcards, 2 bookmarks, and 2 "afterlife" related note cards with matching envelopes.
Hearing the first chapter read by E.F. Jace at Verbose Veracity, I knew I needed this book! The picture was painted so well, and I just can't wait to see how Irene grows up, now that she's dead and all...Here's the blurb. ;)
Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.

This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option...

I just realized that both of these books have fantastical/supernatural elements to them, and that's so neat! I don't think I've read a good "ghost story" in while. My last may have been Christopher Pike's Remember Me, back when I was 12? Sheesh!
Thanks, Chris and Terri! I can't wait to dive into your books. =D

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Full Chain of Haiku

So, I posted an excerpt of my haiku I wrote in college in my Poetry tab, but I forgot I had a full chain. lol For your viewing pleasure, here is the full list. I don't know how good they are; I haven't looked at them and will look after I post them. lol (Note: The grey haiku are from the excerpt.)

Chain of Haiku from a Rambling Cancer

Excuse me while my
head explodes and
blows my brains to space

Beware of Cancers
They are
Obsessed with Capricorns

Hey Kerouac!
No one goes out
To find themselves anymore

If you actually

spoke to me I would
instantly orgasm

This is ground control
Your tin can has rusted
Just come on home

Everyone
makes a blue print
You fit mine

I wake up
to a pretty song
And it's you

I would do every
thing to and for you
Maybe that's the problem

If he could he
would push away
his shadow

Here lies your

hopes and there go
my clothes

His smile and
laughter
la petit morte

He's James Dean
sulking in his
over-sized shades

Mr. Brando he is
panting in your
white wife beater

His lips in the dark
Open your eyes
He's not really there

If he keeps on
fucking himself his
babies will be stupid

Let's be friends
Three words
One bullet

Friendship
is all he can offer
Screw The General

These nails would
make you scream
for days

Anchor me to
insanity while he
slips away

Her heart went Black

Hole when she
couldn't have him

Watch from the
window as the Tenth
House falls

Cradle me
I feel
Your heartbeat

Fourth House rules:
Obsession, Denial
And then we die.

To Jenny:
That thorn in your brain
Has a name

We resort to
lesser beings because
you refuse to love

Silent screams you
cannot hear because
you're far away

Watch the petals
fall from the tree
of the Fourth House

I would call to say
I need you but shouldn't
know your number

You broke the
fourth wall, where
are your burns?

At the top of my lungs
I scream in your face
Say something!

So the truth is
you have no balls
You're not worth it

Avoid the Capricorns
at all cost
Sparks of crazy ignited

I couldn't make
anymore mistakes
if I tried

Watch out for
Cancers, they are
self-destructive

For just one day
why can't I be
a Libra?

I can't shake you
from my head
Sangria

Pick up the glass
and my fingers
start to bleed

And while our minds
settle for fantasy, hormones
kill for something more

We will get there, Jenny
Scratch up their backs
and everything

Lovers pine for each
other. LOVERS.
You're just a stalker

Aren't you smooth
Sneak inside and stay
Tuaca

With my Cancerian
powers I make you
think of me

Actions speak for
themselves. You're
not speaking to me

This is no movie
No happy ending
You'll die alone.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

God is real

Not a preachy person, and I can count the number of scriptures I know on my hand, I think, but when God talks to me, it is CRAZY, and I have to talk about it.

I feel like I said this in another blog (was it during my nervous breakdown? lol) but when I didn't want to go to school, I went because I was stuck awake in the middle of the night feeling like someone was shaking my soul. That's the best way to describe it. I was shivering like I was cold, but I was hot. And I said, "Okay, God, what do I need to give up?" He said, "Music." "What do you want me to do?" "College." So I went.

I know that's hard for people to understand in this day and age, believing in something so "antiquated", but as someone said a couple weeks ago, God doesn't change, people do.

So, the speaker at our Young Adult service told us to write something that's been on our heart on these pieces of paper, and I'd had dreams of these non-denominational gospel songs for a couple of years now, and I've been really slow on them because of sub-conscious doubts. I'm in a family of singers, and not Jackson-voiced singers (sorry Jacksons), but BIG voices. My mom wanted to be an opera singer but got scared and went into other fields and still regrets it. My older sister is a solid operatic soprano, my younger sister has a whistle register (jealous), and my aunt is known around our city for her voice. So I get told a lot that I have a soft voice, or such a tiny voice that I oftentimes feel like this big.

I imagine myself sometimes having a Beyonce-esque voice, and I was once likened to Whitney, but LET'S BE REAL. lol I'm neither. I'm in a Baptist church with a Presbyterian voice (neither are bad, but I'm just saying I don't have the style of voice required for where I am). I'll belt a song out in the shower, but don't stand me by myself in front of a room of people if I'm not comfortable with the style of song on my throat.

Back to the last paragraph, so the speaker told us to write down these things, and I wrote down that I was going to finish these songs, buy a guitar, finish learning the piano, and minister through song. I got up 20 minutes later to pray with the directors over the Young Adults, because there'd been a disconnect, and halfway through the prayer, the speaker's husband told me, not having seen what I wrote, that I would be singing to thousands and my voice would heal the sick. I almost cried, but I don't like crying in front of people lol. God will speak to you when you least expect it, and when he's confirming things he's already placed in your heart, there's no longer any reason to doubt yourself. I'm going to finish these songs and stay (get) in God's Word and alignments, because I know my purpose, and it's HERE.

I didn't expect to say so much, but hopefully this touches someone.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My non-writing aspirations

I come from a musical family. We love to write, but we also sing and dance, sometimes act (not as much). I graduated high school with the naive idea that I would move down to Florida to become a pop star. No money, no job, and barely any stage presence really. I gave that up within the year and went to college, thank God.

This year, I decided to set in stone a couple of things:

1) compose Praise & Worship songs. I'm a Baptist and in my church's young adult choir and Praise & Worship team. Unfortunately, my vocal prowess isn't all that cued up to Baptist gospel, and I have a passion for more Presbyterian/Non-Denominational worship music, ie. Hillsong, Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe. I've written a few songs so far, and I plan to have a guitar by Christmas so I can compose and record.

2) audition for Cirque du Soleil. I loved watching the shows on tv, and when I went into a Summer Program before my Freshman year of college, I got to go see Alegria. My glasses broke that very day, and sitting in row R meant the performers were ants, but the chills I got when the Mezzo singer hit her first bars made me fall in love with the show. I'm currently getting in shape and rehearsing three audition pieces from their job site. I've even gotten my sister to do it with me.

So that's that. lol I don't know what either has in store for me, but I'm two years from 30, and since my other personal goals failed, I'd like to say I did something big with my life when I look back on it.

Meanwhile, I'm still writing and querying, so all of my eggs are spread, and we'll see what hatches.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What If? Blogfest

So, man, am I a late entry!

I'm almost sure I was following Cassie Mae's blog, but if so, that means I haven't looked at my blogger for a good two months. That also means I just saw there is a contest happening this week! -_-

It is the What If? Blogfest, and the rules are as follows:

Think of your favorite "well known" fairytale and ask "What If…!"

Then, pick one of these four categories:
· Best Plot Twist
· Best Love Story
· Best Tragedy
· Best Comic Relief
Finally, write a scene(s) illustrating a new detail of the fabled fairytale that changes our perspective. 300 words MAX.

I love a good tragedy, so I decided to go for Team Tragedy!


Hopefully I have time to go read some of the other bloggers' entries, because LG Keltner's was really good! I started following LG from the last blogfest I followed. :D

And here is my entry!
----------------------------------------

 Thus With A Kiss...

This wasn’t happening.

The kind old lady had told him exactly what to do to wake Snow: find her, confess your love for her, then kiss her. Well, he had found her, told her he loved her, and kissed her, so why was she still asleep? Why wasn’t she stirring?

Charming’s stomach cramped, as though his breakfast had been sour and he hadn’t noticed. The air chilled his suddenly hot skin and made his head swim. The dwarves watching and waiting for their fair maiden to awaken all looked at him. They dried their eyes long enough to realize something was terribly wrong.

Snow had been asleep for weeks. The poison should have worn off by now, right? It couldn’t have still been on her lips. It just wasn’t possible.

Still, Charming’s next steps were his last. His legs grew numb and buckled beneath him. His head hit the mossy ground with a soft smack, and he looked at the frosted leaves above him, the white-gray sky, the dwarves’ faces once they ran to his side. Doc raced away to get his bag, and Happy started to cry all over again.

As his breath quickened and his heart slowed, Charming whispered, “Snow.”

His eyes closed, and just before he died, he thought he heard her sweet voice say, “Charming?”

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Next Project: Ruby, a tribute sequel

I just noticed aspiration has a lot of different meanings.

Anyhow, I now have a critique partner and a beta reader for Save the Queen, and while I hope there aren't too many more changes I need to make on it, I'm glad to get some new eyes on this one. I was 19 when I started writing it, so finishing it at 26, of course I had a lot of growth, and after 2 years editing and revising, it's not a TOTALLY different story, but I do think it's better than when I started it. Hopefully, I can get some more beta readers, but Facebook only got me one loyal friend, whose been reading my stuff since we were in the 4th grade. I'll have to look at AQC to see where else to get readers.

And now that I'm "done" with it for now, I started working on a tribute sequel for Octavia Butler's Fledgling. It was her last published novel before she died, and I loved it. It's about a little girl who wakes up burned and skull-fractured in a bunch of ruins, basically, and when she heals and gets out into the world, she learns she's a 53-year-old vampire named Shori. She's not really a vampire, but her race was the cause of all the folklore, and she has to find out what happened to her and her family because she permanently lost her memory. I've seen mixed reviews: most people (the ones with sense *wink*) loved it. A few were extremely uncomfortable with it, and a few others were turned off by the court hearing the book turns into for the last third of the story. I personally loved everything about the book. It has action, mystery, sex (yeeaah haha); it made me happy, sad, angry. A good book takes you there, and for me, Octavia Butler usually succeeded in that anyhow.

So the sequel I started actually was derived from a series of vampire roleplays I used to do online with some friends. I played two characters, a cannibal/wendigo named Rubix and a 300-year-old vampire named Finlay "Falon" Moynahan (he was very Irish). I had begun writing stories for them and some of the other vampires that one of the guys said I could use that he created, and I'd even wrote a long backstory sequence for Falon and some shorter stories, but I knew they weren't going to see the light of day. I'm not even sure how the idea came to me to write them as Ina (the race in Fledgling), since I read the book either last year or the year before, but it was on my mind the last few months that it was a good place to put them. So, I read the book again, took notes as I did, compiled them, and started writing the story circling Shori's birth daughter Ruby as she prepares to (looking for a good word) spawn (ew) the next generation of dark-skinned Ina.

Shori isn't old enough to mate but is already bound to her mates when we are introduced to her, so I am working from scratch on those aspects, which is kind of cool, I think. I also want to use some of the Ina language, which means, of course, creating it, but I think I can do it. Butler described the alphabet, so at least I have something to work with.

I will keep working on it and see how it turns out. It's a really important piece to me, because of how memorable Fledgling is, and to keep the memory of some of my favorite roleplay characters alive.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Magic Mike

Yes, I saw it. What of it?!

No, seriously, my sister took me to see Magic Mike for my birthday. First off, I must say, it's not JUST a movie about strippers. I promise.

Magic Mike is a young and popular stripper who has, if I counted correctly, two or three other day jobs, and he is using all of these jobs to establish his own unique furniture business. No one will give him a chance, though, because all of his day (and night) jobs pay in cash, and he has no credit. I don't understand that about businesses. He had $1500 in cash on the table before the woman, and she called him struggling or something else insulting because he had no credit. The money is RIGHT THERE!

Anyway, at his job with his dad, he takes under his wing this kind of shady kid and brings him on to the stripper scene as payback for him driving him home. The kid lives with his sister who's really uptight and worries a lot because he had a troublesome past. Mike promises her he'll look after him. So we get to see how this ragtag (and I mean ragtag. Kevin Nash is in this, for goodness sake) group of strippers works from night to night, their struggles and their victories.

To wrap up this weak review, the movie starts on a high of "This is the life, we get money, chicks, we're sexy!" to "Do you really want to be doing this the rest of your life?" It's a deeper movie than it seems.

Upside to this movie: Watching Channing Tatum dance. It's, well, magical.

Downside to this movie: the 1,001 F-bombs. The dialogue was really natural, but I could've stood for 500 less F words.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

And the winners are... (Versatile Blogger Award pt. 2)

Here is the first part of my Versatile Blogger post...and the 1-1/2 part.

Fortunately, I realized early that while I'd love to look at all 95 sets of Hookers & Hangers, to make my decision BASED on the Hookers & Hangers, it was wiser of me to make sure they hadn't yet received the Versatile Blogger award. Shaved a lot of time.



My 10 nominations for the Versatile Blogger award, from the list of Hookers & Hangers entrants, based either on those posts or their other posts are (*drum roll*):

Winner based on posts I read.
1. T. L. Bodine Great posts that I'm currently reading, and I've already followed her on Twitter. She also has a list of short stories on her blog to read, and I plan to do that soon.

Winners based on Hookers & Hangers.
1. Tobi Summers Chock Full of Words I knew she was getting one when I saw her GaiaOnline avatar! Her current novel in the editing stages is an urban fantasy about werewolves. Exciting!

2. Amanda Olivieri From Imagination to Ink Her project Death & Co. sounds very intriguing. I also like 1st-person POV shifts.

3. Jenny Morris Jenny's Imaginary World Her Hookers & Hangers from Already There, her collaboration with Kelley Lynn, sound like our every day conversation in this tiny "city" of Dover. The cynicism and determination define a generation here.

4. A.W. Exley Mutterings from the Oubliette Hey, a Kiwi! :-D I love their accents. Anyway, sylphs and embers. Sexy. Her current manuscript is a steampunk called Nefertiti's Heart. I've never read steampunk, but with hookers and hangers like those...I can get into it. *wink*

5. Mara Rae Scribble Scrabble First off, she gets one for that giant baby in her banner. He's adorable. Second, her hangers were awesome.

6. Amy L. Sonnichsen The Green Bathtub The Crazy Part is her current WIP, and the hookers and hangers to it are intriguing.

7. Gina This is Not Your Blog The lines from her YA Romance sound like things I would say. lol

8. Deana Barnhart Yeah, knives in bellies. Not a good look. hehe I also like the image of someone rushing up to another person and punching them. I want to know what he did to deserve it.

9. Kristin McLaughlin Her hookers and hangers painted some really telling pictures, and I'm quite interested in knowing the story around them now.

And a year later (not really, but it took SO long!) I have finished my Versatile Blogger noms! =D I made it just over 2/3 of the way down the list of Hookers & Hangers. I'll still probably skim the rest, but from what I've seen, these are my favorites.

These aren't in any particular order, but I see some of my picks were either the Hookers & Hangers winners or honorable mentions! Congratulations, all!

Here are the rules to the Versatile Blogger:

RULES

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. List the rules.
3. List seven random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate ten people for the award. And notify them that you've given them an award.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Distracted

Can I express how utterly and totally distracted I am right now!?

I'm sitting at my desk at work on a day where I actually HAVE work to do, and all I want to do is blog and brainstorm and revamp my blog to accommodate my smaller works. I enjoy this job, and I love how laid back it is (I'm in the Office of Directors, but still, these people are SO chill), but--and they said I was going to be--I'm BORED.

Not bored as in "this is a boring job," but bored as in, "This is NOT my job." I said from jump (from jump I mean, like, when I was 12. Excuse my lingo and grammar right now, too, I'm in my Deborah-rant-zone, and I do run-on sentences when I'm ranting) that writing was going to be my full-time job. People have told me it's a hobby, and I won't be able to get by on just writing, and I know a lot of people have day jobs because writing isn't all that sustaining, but I want to dream bigger than the logical and the typical.

I want to be a bestselling author. I want to write the screenplay when they (whoever they are) ask to adapt my book. I want to sit in the Executive Director's chair and yell "CUT, do it this way! This is the vision!" I want to be at the Editor's side because for the love of GOD LOTR and King Kong were TOO LONG and some scenes from LOTR that didn't make it into the final cut needed to be in the final cut, because I notice when things aren't resolved. Geez, I've heard it said Stephen King pops up in a lot of his movies now because he hated how The Shining was done! I can be there if I say I need to be there!

Breathe. One. Two.

Okay. I'm calmish.

I'm 28 years old. I had dreams of marriage and my second child by now. So now that that's gone to pot, I still remember that when I was 21, I said in 10 years I'd have a book published and some other stuff that I've forgotten (it was 7 years ago after all). This process, the editing, the revisions, the queries, the critiques, is putting me on that goal, so I hope I see it soon.

In the meantime, I'm going to be finding something more MY job to do with my time while that happens. I'm not quitting my job, by any means, but I'm definitely looking at my other options. I'm the least normal person I know (which often sucks), and I want a life that reflects all of who I am.

Nervous breakdown over. It came 2 years too soon, so I'm going to have a great 30th birthday. I claim that now, Jesus.

Back to work.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Totally About to Cheat (Versatile Blogger Award pt. 1.5)

Well, not really, but...

Okay, so I'm pretty sure everyone I follow has had the Versatile Blogger award because most of the people I follow right now are in the Agent Query Connect circle, so they've nominated each other as one of the ten already.

BUT there was a bloghop contest (you know, the one I mentioned in my last post Hookers & Hangers) that had NINETY-FIVE entrants! What are the odds that all of them have been nominated?!

Pretty good, probably, but it at least gives me a chance to look at others' blogs, too, even though I'm lousy at keeping up with even the ones I follow now! Still, ten of those peeps are about to be given the Versatile Blogger award once I go through their hookers and hangers. And I might even follow them, too. hehe

Hookers & Hangers

That's a great title. lol

Falling 4 Fiction had this great bloghop contest where you post the first sentence from some of your chapters on one day, then the last from some of your chapters on another. I didn't do the contest, but I thought it would be cool to see what some of my openers and enders were, and if they were intriguing or not. SO, here are some from Save the Queen. And, yeah, some aren't just one sentence. lol

Hookers:

Ghuli awoke thinking she would be wandering aimlessly, undead with no one to pass her on to T’orre’s Energy, but she had survived.

Andyrsn came down the stairs, glanced over at his fellow watchmen and the temple scholar unconscious beneath multiple layers of dust, plaster and wood, and stopped walking. (Long doggone sentence.)

Ghuli awoke to the distant voice of the temple scholar calling for his sister. Brodie shifted beside her, sighed as she climbed out of bed, and left to answer him. (That sounds extra scandalous out of context!)

Andyrsn now had someone who was willing to play cards with him. (Hurray for Andyrsn!)

The Southern Continent of the Contagion: an ominous world none dared to touch.

Across the inhabited continents, those with the cursed eye hadn’t moved or made a sound since their fall.


Hangers:

He started back down the stairs with a warm smile on his face. (That, too, sounds scandalous out of context.)

Ghuli needed answers. She knew they must find the Great Scroll. Her life, more than this journey, now depended on it.

She looked up when she realized someone else was there, and her eyes widened when they focused on Andyrsn. Before he could do or say anything, she disappeared.

Cyan tried to move his mouth to identify the soldiers, but the one over him gently pushed his eyes closed.

They had to overcome on their own, surpass their fathers and survive all that would come their way. Ghuli’s life depended on them.

Ghuli closed her eyes, felt as though the wall was moving away, and she put both hands on it to go wherever it would lead her.

Conclusion: I should probably change one of those lines that ends with Ghuli's life depending on something even though they're in two separate books of the whole novel...and the ones that begin with Ghuli waking up, even though one was from unconsciousness and the other from sleep...

We shall see how that turns out. :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

I got an award?! (Versatile Blogger Award part 1)

Whaaat?!



I never get anything, so I was surprised to see SC had nominated me for theVersatile Blogger Award! Thanks, SC! Visit his beautifully blue blog here. http://scwrite.blogspot.com/

And with such a prestigious award comes responsibilities:

RULES

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. List the rules.
3. List seven random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate ten people for the award. And notify them that you've given them an award.

I hope I'm reading ten people's blogs, first off. The hard part will be what to do if they're already nominated. -_-

Some random facts about me.

1. I have a callus on my right thumb from playing FFX for too long (Lulu's limit break called for agonizing use of the right analog stick).

2. I'm the middle child of my dad's children, the middle child of my mom's children, and the middle child of my mother's father's grandchildren...

3. I love pink.

4. I love the WWE even when it sucks.

5. My birthday is this Thursday! :)

6. I read at 146 words per minute (thanks for telling me, Staples.com).

7. I'm pretty sarcastic most of the time.

You'd think I'd mention something writer-related, wouldn't you?

My nominations will come soon. I have to do some searching and make sure no one I pick's already gotten it. I'm sure they wouldn't want to go through this all over again. hehe

Thanks again, SC!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Save the Queen: The query

I THINK I might have it...
_______________________________________________

To So and So Agency:
Ghuli cannot understand why she is being hunted. When she is forced out of hiding, she meets the person with the answers.

The last of the Crystal Bearers, peaceful people with crystals in their hands and feet, Ghuli hid for most of her life. An army of iron beasts, the Contagion, burns cities and cuts down thousands searching for her. Despite her own impulses and desires for adventure, Ghuli has her watchmen to protect her from potential danger.

But for how long can they protect her from herself? Ghuli stumbles from continent to continent, plagued by everything from preying beasts to her own uncontrollable powers. Dark, fragmented dreams reveal that she may be the true cause of the world's terror. Then, Ghuli meets the one who controls the Contagion. She blames Ghuli for the death of the other Crystal Bearers and vows to stop at nothing to make her pay. Ghuli fears believing her, but her words line up with the dreams.

Before the world is destroyed, Ghuli must piece together the truth and gain control of her powers. She is the only one who can stop this foe and the Contagion once and for all.

SAVE THE QUEEN is a young adult high fantasy. It balances dark tones with light and has a touch of action-adventure. Thank you for your consideration.

The Origin of Love

You know how some things just stick with you once you've seen them? That one song that says everything you need to say, that movie that emotionally wrecked you?

"The Origin of Love" is one of those for me. It's from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. You can find it on Youtube. I haven't even seen the whole movie, but we watched the scene in my Mythology class my first year at Florida State. Parts of it are still hilarious to me (the song is pretty ridiculous when you listen closely). The story as a whole, though, is so profound and moving.

So, I wrote a short story based on it. This might have been the fastest story I've ever done. I started it on my cell phone after work (I sometimes love my Blackberry) and just finished it. I will read it over to check for any superficial errors, but I will be posting it within the hour.

[UPDATE: The aforementioned post was picked up for publication and taken down in order to be published. A sample of the story and e-zine in which it's found are now in the tabs above!]

Friday, June 29, 2012

Back to my query...(Dead man walking)

So, one of the more annoying questions a writer with a newly finished manuscript gets is "So do you have a publisher yet?" It's not really their fault for asking, but they don't know there's a process that you have to go through to get an agent first when you're going the traditional route of mainstream publishing.

That process generally starts with a query.

A query is a proposal that sells your 70-100-thousand-word book in under 250 words. You need a hook. You need a touch of what goes down. You need to get it as close to right as possible.

And as Revo said in his WriterWorld of Horror, the flawless horse doesn't exist. http://therevofiles.blogspot.com/2012/04/writerworld-of-horrors-part-two.html

You just need to pique an agent's interest. But what's too much? What's not enough? What do you show, and what do you tell? These are questions we writers deal with on a critique-to-critique basis, and I got so fed up with my inability to get more than one agreeing response (I've had people look at the same query and have one person say I said too much while another said I didn't say enough), I stopped looking at it for two months. I also sent a proposal to a company that said, "Don't send us queries, they're ineffective." I'm paraphrasing, but that was still a blessing.

Anyway, after we get it as right as you want it, we then play the waiting game, because once you send in a proposal, synopsis, query, many places let you know there is a wait on the 2-6 month scale, so, here's to throwing your baby out there and seeing if someone says, "Can you send us the full manuscript?" or "Thanks for letting me read that...but no."

*imaginary shot of rum taken*

The other day, I decided to write a query off the cuff without looking at the last one I'd written. It was about as vague as it could get, and when I finally found the last query I concocted on AQConnect (writers need to go here, by the way http://agentqueryconnect.com/), it was much more detailed, too. I like things out of both of my last two queries, so I'm going to splice them and see what happens. I'll probably get some AQC's to critique it first, but I will post it here.

 Crossing my toes! (Because I need my fingers to type.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Color Line

Now, I've actually had this thought in the back of my head for years, but not until recently has it started creeping closer and closer into my frontal lobes.

Do I want to change the color of my main character??

At the moment, and as I've always envisioned it, Ghuli has mirrored the likes of Rinoa in FF8 and Dagger in FF9. Can I add pictures? (edit July 24: NOPE. lol Just read a blog about a woman who got sued.)

Here are some links. Rinoa. Dagger.

That pale, large-eyed, black-haired damsel. I've had the Crystal Bearers described in the same manner. Fair, dark hair, dark eyes.

For the movie adaptation (you know, for the book I haven't even published yet), I have SERIOUSLY been monitoring Jodelle Ferland to make sure she doesn't grow into some awkward looking child as most adorable child actors do. She's succeeding, thank God.

I also want Kristin Kreuk to play her mother, but anyway, that's part of the point. This face is the thing right now, as seen on those Fallen novels and Twilight, and TV's version of Vampire Diaries, Snow White every 10 years. That innocent, pale-faced, dark-haired damsel.

I used to just wonder, "What would happen if I made Ghuli brown?" out of curiosity. My first thought has always been, "What would the jewels in her hands look like then??" That's the big thing that stops me from changing her color. The jewels are white because they look good against just-as-white skin. White jewels embedded in a brown hand? I think of pus. Gross, I know, but my mother's a nurse, so that's what I think of. I thought of changing them to red to compensate, but then, I thought of blood. I'll come back to this in a moment.

Now I'm thinking, since we're inundated with this stock face, while beautiful, I'm now wondering if I should change Ghuli's color to propose a new type of heroine? I don't ever really jump into the conversations about race portrayal in movies and such, but if anyone else read all the racist comments that happened after The Hunger Games came out, it's clear that people have their ideas of who's innocent and who doesn't matter. Would the population accept a brown-skinned (and when I say brown, I mean like the crayon color, since many people label tan people brown and brown people black) damsel/heroine, and will my story get the same attention, or would it be shelved under "African American" literature? Not that it couldn't be as popular, but would it?

One simple question birthed SO many other ones! Well, I guess then it's not so simple.

I just asked my sister, and she said, "It would definitely get people's attention."

It also goes deeper, as a symbol of me embracing MY color, as a black girl who grew up in Southeastern PA just north of Philly where everyone's Italian or Jewish, so my identity was shot to Hell by the time I hit the first grade.

I think it could work. Perhaps a Kerry Washington type face? She could be the face of the Crystal Bearers. It's blowing my mind right now. And it's not like I'll lose the Jodelle Ferland face. In fact, the Crystal Bearers, like the Humans, can be black AND white! Epiphany #2.

So, I think I can do this (and I know it means going through another read-through to change any instance of describing Ghuli and identifying the Bearers as exclusively pale, white, fair, etc.). I think I will.

So back to the jewels, I think an amber stone would work, even a diamond...Let's do this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Musical Chart for Emotional Writing

So, first, I'm stealing the idea from my AQ Bud SC, so go read his blog on the idea first. DO IT.

http://scwrite.blogspot.com/2012/06/music-writing-and-emotions.html

Now, I'm a screenwriter/producer at heart, so whenever I'm writing, I see my stories as though they were in movie format. Often, soundtracks come with the full vision, so I often know what specific song will fit what scene. I'm a dreamer. I can't help it.

Below I shall outline what I believe will be the best genres/songs to fuel your emotions for specific emotional scenes while you are writing, if you are someone who is able to tap into music for that sort of inspiration. If not, I apologize on behalf of SC as well. lol

While his list was heavy on Adele, I love her, but I need more variety, so I will do my best to provide it right now.

Anger ----------------- Heavy Metal all the way! Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, anything where the singer is more screaming than anything, and all you hear is guitar and blood in your head (from that vessel that popped because you didn't turn the music down before you started listening). I'd even say System of a Down, but oddly "Disorder" makes me happy...but definitely, for an Alternative route, Foo Fighters "The Pretenders" and Paramore's "Let the Flames Begin" (which is in my unwritten movie soundtrack for my unpublished novel).

Pain, heartbreak------- Of course, Adele, because that's "all" she wrote about. But also, if you want to be not ashamed (because I'm not), the Backstreet Boys' "Back to Your Heart" will do it. Also, three Sara Bareilles songs that make me sad (one of which: soundtrack), "Between the Lines," "Hold My Heart," and "Breathe Again."

Depression------------ Paramore "When it Rains," U2 "With or Without You," Rihanna "We Found Love", which you might want to watch the video, too, because that will crush your soul something fierce. Any of those Punk Rock bands who write "anti-suicide" songs that are all about suicide? Yeah. Just don't cut yourself.

Longing--------------- Jeff Buckley. His voice alone will make you want him, but he died in the early 90s, so you can't have him. You will long for him, thus make you feel longing. See how I did that? "Last Goodbye," "Lover, You Should've Come Over," "Forget Her," etc.

Breaking free -------- Punk and Classic Rock. Any song about Atlanta, California, leaving, going, tearing down/breaking through something, fights breaking out.

Happiness------------- Happiness is what you make it, really. Like I said, SOAD's "Disorder" makes me happy, but so does Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain". Beyonce's "Radio" (which is playing right now on my mp3 player), songs that make you get up and dance. But don't dance too much; you're supposed to be writing.

Bittersweet----------- This one is hard, too, maybe because it's so specific. Those "it's over, but we'll be okay" songs...You're with someone else, but that's best...You'd have to actually listen to the lyrics, I guess. (Late addition:) Luther Vandross, "Dance with my Father."

Some that weren't on SC's list! (Boys. lol)

Romance------------- Hello? Pop/R&B? I can make up so many combinations of what r and b stand for, but I won't. Alicia Keys "I'm Ready," "Butterflyz," Luther Vandross...OH! Hey, he's got a bittersweet song (See Late addition above). Get in enough of the mood to write the mood. Then go take a cold shower.

Fear------------------ Enter The Doors, Pink Floyd, and Marilyn Manson territories, and you're probably good. Supernatural (on CW) is particularly good at using rock music for scary scenes. I actually was scared to get in the car with a co-worker because "Bad Company" came on the radio. Youtube the scene.

Crime----------------- More Classic Rock (sorry) and maybe Speed Rock (is that the term? the fast heavy metal like Pantera?). Styx "Renegade," Bon Jovi "Dead or Alive", Boston's "Foreplay/Long Time"?? No contest! No songs that actually reference Bonnie and Clyde, because if you saw the movie, they were brutally riddled with bullets for the last 5 minutes of it, so if you're getting away with the crime, no Bonnie & Clyde references. ;)

Then, of course, as SC and some commentors mentioned, you have tv soundtracks that work well, too, so just do what feels right for you, and tap into that emotion. :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Other writings

Something brought to my memory that I have a Spanish-to-English short story floating around on Temple's website! It's based on the world's weirdest experience that I had with a stranger, and I added more to make it a surreal(ish) story for my Spanish class. Then, I was invited to submit the story for Temple's program "In Other Words." Sadly, I don't think they're doing it anymore, because the last edition was in 2010.

So here is the link to the main page so you can browse around if you like:
http://www.temple.edu/inotherwords/

And here is the link to my direct story: El Celular
http://www.temple.edu/inotherwords/hawkins.htm

Also, back when I dabbled (badly) at poetry, I submitted two poems to this very open poetry forum, so here are the links to:

an excerpt from Chain of Haiku from a Rambling Cancer:
http://www.poetshaven.com/singlepage.php?html=bookcontents.php&footer=1&section=21&page=516

and Journal Entry from My Imaginary Lover:
http://www.poetshaven.com/singlepage.php?html=bookcontents.php&footer=1&section=21&page=517

Ignore the pen name; I was testing names for a long time. Ignore the tense changes, too, because I forgot to edit before I sent it in. Youth. *sigh*

Friday, June 15, 2012

Webcomics to Read

I'm not even sure how I got into reading webcomics. I think I followed a link one day, and it took me to one, which led to another, and so on. Here are three that are a must-read, and if you have time, you may want to catch up.

The Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl
http://www.abominable.cc/2007/06/20/episode-1/
Follow the travels of a bigfoot-like creature and the shenanigans of the animals around him. Updated every Wednesday.

Ellie Starling's Very Long Walk by Travis
http://elliestarling.com/?webcomic_post=1
A young tomboy gets thrown into a fantastical world that feels like a video game. Updated every Tuesday and Thursday.

Monster Pulse by Magnolia Pearl
http://www.monster-pulse.com/?webcomic_post=mppage1
A young girl with her head in the clouds gets accosted by a mysterious ghost-like monster, and what happens next is something you must experience to believe. Updated every Tuesday and Thursday (I think).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Romance in Non-Romance Novels

I love love stories. (That looks weird.)

I get goosebumps when I read intimate scenes of any level as long as they're written well, and as a teenager, I loved writing those angsty teenagers who couldn't quite come to terms with loving another person right until the very end of the story.

But now I'm an adult (I think), and I don't write angsty teen love stories. That doesn't mean I don't still love a good love story, though. That does, however, mean that since I don't write romance, if there's a love story building within the story, it can't be the focus.

For a good instance, Lord of the Rings. I didn't finish the book (sorry, Tolkien), but I remember someone saying Arwen's character was shown much more in the movies than she was seen in the book. Of course, this was to enhance her love story with Aragorn for Hollywood get-the-girls-in-the-seats purposes (I would've still been in the seats regardless, but some people, maybe not). It doesn't take away from the main story, and what girl didn't like seeing Aragorn shove his tongue down her throat in that concluding scene in Return of the King (he quite literally did. That was a hungry kiss if ever there were one)?? It was a perfect (to me) addition to the story that made sense. He's human, she's the Elf princess, and they can't really be together because she's immortal and he isn't, but she sacrifices herself for him, and thus Elrond grievingly takes the Sword of the King (or whatever, it's been a while) to Aragorn so he can do his job and help slay Sauron's dark forces. Good job, Peter Jackson.

For a bad instance, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller's story was so...WEIRD. He went away to war, and she was so distraught after his friend (her brother, I think) accidentally got blown up and transformed himself into the villain that he kidnaps Sienna, lowjacks her brain, and turns her against Channing. Then, the lowjack starts malfunctioning, so she remembers that she loves him, and she's all weakish and heartbroken again before she dies (did she die? I forget). WHAAAAT? That whole love story could've gone into the trash. It would've been a much better movie. Now Shawn Wayans and (google) Rachel Nichols (she looks best as a red-head) had an adorable love story. She's the genius who can't quantify emotion, and Shawn's the hopeless romantic who thinks she's hot, so he pursues her for most of the movie until she caves. It didn't take away from the story, and it was enjoyable to watch them blossom. We didn't need the Chienna ship; we had the...Shawchel...which was a minor story that wasn't awkward.

Since I used Final Fantasy games as a skeleton for the story, I kept in the back of my mind how love stories were used in FF6 and FF7. In FF6, the love story was between two of the supporting characters: Locke and Celes. For the most part, there was no attention paid to it at all, but in the end I felt like, "Aw, they fell in love. How nice." In FF7, there were two...halves of two love stories? The first was tossed out the window when Sephiroth killed Aeris (http://www.gamespy.com/articles/828/828805p2.html). <-- Watch it and get a tissue, because the music WILL break your heart. I still remember the preview for this game calling it "A love that never was," and as GameSpy says, this was how the Playstation era began. The second love story doesn't even really happen, but it was the whole reason Cloud set out to become part of SOLDIER in the first place. Either way, both love stories succeeded in not taking away from the main story.

So, for Save the Queen, when I (had thought I had) finished writing, the final scene resolved a love story. I even had the track for the scene that would play while the credits rolled (Yes, I have a soundtrack prepared for the movie. I'm partially embarrassed)! However, my sister, Masters degree in English that she has, said the most enlightening thing to me one day when I was talking about it: "But it's not a love story." And then the light came on. It's NOT a love story! There's a metal army trying to destroy the world to find a girl whose mind is fractured. Who's watching the love??? So, while it's pretty clear from the introduction of Andyrsn that sparks will fly between him and Ghuli, I had to push them to the side. I not only took out a couple of mushy additives in some scenes, but I added a closing scene better suited to end the novel. I'm proud of myself.

I say all of this to say keep your focus. You can have a Sci-fi Romance or a Fantasy Romance, but if you're just writing non-Romance, make sure that if there is a romance involved, it doesn't take over.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Movie plug!

Go see it!

Not only is it hilarious, but there's nothing not to like about any of the characters. I also liked that we got to see so many different scenarios: a couple who had a one-nighter and got pregnant; a couple who was in a relationship and got pregnant; a married couple trying, a married couple adopting, dads. It had it all! You will laugh the entire 90 minutes except for those 3 minutes where you might cry.

I've never been pregnant (so, God, about that guy we talked about coming my way? Where is he?), but I also like how relatable the movie was. It didn't sugar coat anything. Yes, it's a miracle of life, and yes, I want and will always want babies, but there are gross and uncomfortable things going on there. Also, I stand by my word when I say, my husband (wherever he may be, Jesus) might not get a ticket to the delivery room. Might be just me and the doc in a very dark room. I'd be completely serious if I didn't want to have a water birth.

In conclusion, go see What to Expect When You're Expecting. If my shoddy review didn't woo you, four words.

Chace

Crawford

Joe

Manganiello

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Read these people's blogs.

...Well? DO IT! lol

As I said, I don't want this blog to focus on just me and mine. Here are some blogs I'm following. They have great entries, and my personal favorite creates an amusement park filled with nightmarish writer/editor pet peeves.

"From The Write Angle" by various writers
http://www.fromthewriteangle.com/

Revo Boulanger's "Revo Files"
http://therevofiles.blogspot.com/

Joyce Alton's "Yesternight's Voyage"
http://yesternightsvoyage.blogspot.com/

Spin-offs

I know that (some) people aren't fans of sequels or prequels, and the chances that these will leave my thumb drive (since my computer is giving up the ghost) are slim. However, I am writing/have written short stories that take place before Save the Queen begins. I also plan to write a story not related to the main stories, but is a story mentioned within the novel. My first beta reader wants very much for me to stretch out the (currently) 107k novel and have a story for each continent. NOT sure that will happen, but I do want to do the following (or have already started the following):

The Crystal War
-This one is really important to why the main story is happening in Save the Queen, but it's not revealed until near the end of the second "book" in the story. Obviously, though, it deals with a war between the Crystal Bearers. In fact, I might post a preview of the scene detailing it. It's not really something that needs to be kept secret. We'll see. I don't necessarily want this whole blog to be about this one story. I want this story to be, at least, novella length.

"On the Hill"
-A short story I'm currently working on, a love story about the hulktroll and hillsprite who helped unite the Sprites and Trollics after centuries of war and animosity.

"Ghuli's Watchmen"
-A short story I finished that chronicles important parts of Cyan and Ghuli's younger years. We get to see Ghuli grow and Cyan become a good watchman under a man they think of as their father.

The Sprite Child's Epic (by Migan the hillsprite)
-I think this was the first one I said I wanted to do and haven't even put a sentence down yet. It's a series of middle-grade children's books that Brodie gives Ghuli to read when she first meets her. It will (clearly) circle adventures of a Sprite child, but it will probably turn into something surreal (since it's a fantasy series inside of a larger fantasy).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Logic

I'm not the most logical person to begin with, so when I started this story way back when (2003, almost 10 years ago, yikes), I wrote what came to me how it came to me. There was no stopping to think, "Does this make sense?"

So, when my sister read the very first draft of the 1st part of the book, she pointed out to me that Ghuli tells Laris she's okay, even though he and Cyan, who are supposed to be watching her, left her, and she almost got killed. My sister was probably appalled, even. haha

(Sidenote that's completely off topic: logic would also dictate that when you put soda into a soda machine, if you put in Mountain Dew, don't leave the little picture that says it's Sprite. Same with the Sprite saying Dr. Pepper. The soda machine guy is a jerk.)

Back to MY troubles with logic, I revised the scene a little so that her watchman come save her from certain death, but even that still didn't make sense, as another critiquer noted: Why'd they leave her in the first place if they're supposed to be watching her?  So my (fingers crossed) last revision, they're with her the entire time and face the certain death alongside her. A good thing about this as well is that readers will get to see who Laris and Cyan are and how they interact with Ghuli right off the bat instead of 3-6 pages later, where I initially had them.

This edit-time around, I will be looking for notes of logic and also reduce "info-dumping" as all the critiquers called it. We don't need to know where everyone came from in the first 10 pages, and at least I know where that information can be slipped in.

Also, readers can't see what I see in my head if I don't describe it clearly, so I have to embrace, if not the most, one of the most annoying notes: "Show, don't tell".

In other news, I have gotten under 108k words now. I had started at about 120k. I think I can get to 107...We'll see.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Save the Queen: The Characters

I fell asleep at my desk, so...this should be a better use of my time in case someone walks by. Below are the main and supporting characters in the order they appear in the story.

Ghulien, also known as Ghuli. 17. Race: Crystal Bearer. 5'3. Slim. Long, thick, curly black hair, hazel eyes. Brown skin. Round crystal in each hand and foot, the source of her power. Timid, but impulsive and spoiled. Her powers are awakened when she meets others with the same powers or when she is in critical danger.

Cyan. 22. Race: Trollic, sub-class Hulk. 7'5. Solid but short by Trollic standards. Blonde hair cropped short, light blue eyes. Fair complexion. Weapon: Cudgel. Ghuli's 1st Lt. Watchman. Hot-tempered, constantly alert and worried. Cyan raised Ghuli from an infant and took charge of her when his commanding officer died.

Laris. 26. Race: Sprite, sub-class Bay. 5'8. Lithe. Mid-length red hair, green eyes and pointed ears (both racially exclusive). Tan complexion. Weapon: Crossbow and lightweight swords. Can heal himself and others. Ghuli's 2nd Lt. Watchman and Cyan's mentor. Quiet, sincere, likes to tell stories. Joined Cyan's mission after the death of Cyan's commanding officer.

Andyrsn. 22. Race: Human. 5'111/2. Cruiserweight. Mid-length, curly brown hair, dark brown eyes. Tan complexion. Weapon: Pistols and dagger. Becomes Ghuli's Junior Grade Lt. Watchman after meeting her. Soft-spoken, sarcastic, but light-hearted. Helps care for his nieces.

Brodie. 19. Race: Human. 5'9. Long and slim. Long, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes. Brown skin. Weapon: Rifle. A scholar who has also earned the rank of 2nd Lt. Watchman. and joins Ghuli. Quick-witted, judgmental, intelligent. Her watchman status conflicts with her family's traditional Scholarship role.

Avalegna, later nicknamed Lenne. 16. Race: Werebeast. 5'0. Petite but wiry. Long, unruly blonde hair, golden eyes and pointed ears (both racially exclusive). Olive skin. A friend of Ghuli's. Fast-speaking, hyper, fierce. Her race is needed to find and activate a Crystalline relic Ghuli learns she must find.

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