Closed Minds Let Nothing In

It never fails to amaze me, really. This is the situation. I saw a posting on FB from Cesar Millan's page that Massachusetts banned debarking surgery. I don't agree with the surgery myself, even though sometimes I've considered it for Dalila but I don't think I'll ever do it. I've got a better handle on her bark these days so I know I can manage her. I also don't agree with it out of convenience; if you get a dog, train it. Simple. But I also understand that sometimes it can be the lesser of evils. For example my breeder has usually 7 shelties in her home at once. Now one sheltie is loud - imagine 7. And I don't care what anyone says, when one gets going the others will follow. That's just the way they are. And they are hard to calm down. It can be done, but it's hard. And she's now experiencing health problems, which compounds the issue. One of her seven (Dalila's great grandmother to be precise) is debarked. The bark isn't gone, it just sounds really raspy like she has a cold. She has neighbours and doesn't want to trouble them, and having one less loud barker helps. Okay, her dogs her decision. Maddie doesn't seem to notice, she barks alongside everyone else. But everyone on this page considered every dog owner who did this surgery to be horrible people. I threw in my two cents pretty much saying that while I don't agree with the surgery, I don't agree with judging people either. Of course I got jumped on (anticipated that) but I stood my ground. I'm not ashamed of my opinions, and I'm not ashamed of speaking them even when 90% of the people are being a little close-minded in their passion. People don't listen when they're on that high.

One lady saw fit to tell me that I and my sister were bad dog owners because I wasn't agreeing with the masses and pointing out a few real realities. I was also called stupid.

Haha, I'm a writer honey. You want to take a hit at my feelings you're going to have to hit a lot harder than that!

She gave up, I guess she didn't want to admit that she wasn't reading what I was writing properly. I guess it's hard to admit that things aren't always fair to dog owners and some people have to make ugly decisions. I'm not saying that shouldn't be changed, because it should, but it's stupid to ignore the reality here and now. If any of those dog owners commenting there could honestly say that if they were ever faced with the decision of getting their dog debarked or removed from them, they would let their dog go they're stronger people than I am. I hope never to be in that situation, but I'd rather debark Dalila than lose her. If that makes me stupid fine, but I knew what I was getting into when I got a sheltie. I know what a barker she can be and I know I have to work to curb that. And I just can't bring myself to give her up and then someone who's unaware of that adopts her only to get rid of her. She'd get euthanized. And she is just far too happy and far too wonderful of a dog to have that happen to her. Not everyone is lucky like me to have neighbours and a super who would work with me if she was ever a problem. Some people have neighbours who complain over the simplest, stupidest things and sometimes the law sides with them instead of resolving it. That's reality. It's not always fair, and there's not always happy endings and rainbows. I'm all for people being more responsible dog owners, but I'm also for people not being so anal retentive about a dog just because they bark on occasion.

And I'm also for people not being so damn judgemental when they haven't been there and done that.

Festival Goodness

Back home and settled, with an ice cap and goodies :) I'm a hopeless addict, haha.

It was absolutely perfect weather for a festival. Lots of new booths, a fairly good crowd but considering there was also a festival going on at Locke street this weekend it wasn't surprising. But still, good crowd. Lots of folks with dogs, from little guys to Irish Wolfhounds. I caught up with my friends Michelle and Kelly who were both vending this year. It's always good to see people who are all glad to see you and not 'where the hell have you been?'. And saw some more of my friends who showed up a little after I did, which was nice. I forgot to ask if they were going lol Shannon brought Ruby along who was happier to see Dalila than Dalila was. Pup actually did pretty good at the festival, it was quite overwhelming but she loved it. And I love showing her off because she gets so many compliments. I think people see how happy a dog she is though too.

I didn't bring my camera this year, but I did get goodies and I did take pictures (please ignore my fugly desk >.> ):



Both mine and my mom's stuff. The dream catcher and the first two pairs of candles are mine, and the purple ball and the last two candle pairs are mine. The candles my friend Kelly makes. The first pair at the top is called Egyptian Dragon, the next Witches Brew, the third Dragon's Blood, and the last pair is Witches Cauldron. They smell sooooooooooooo good, I'm surrounded by scent.

As for Dalila:

Whoops!

Almost let this blog slip. My apologies!

I forgot about NaNo ML signups this year >.< So officially, I'm not ML-ing for my area but I can act in an unofficial capacity, if it's okay with the girls who are this year. I'm sure it will be, one has been my co-ML for a few years and the other has been in the group probably as long as I have. They're both cool. Even if my involvement is minor, it might be nice to relax a bit this year. 50,000 words in one month can get kind of nuts.

I have no idea what I'm going to do for NaNo. It has to be a new project so that means none of the seven stories I have in progress qualify. Not that I'm short on ideas, haha. I have one idea that I haven't quite fleshed out yet that was inspired by this art:



I couldn't read the title or artist's name (幽魂之地 - 李一丁 if anyone on my list can translate?) but I have a good idea of the 'story' of it. It's an undead warlock, most likely in Andorhol at night. Or it could be a farm in Tirisfal which always looks that dark but none of the silos glow green. It kind of looks like she's taking revenge which is what spurred the idea. Of course, another idea is inspired by this pic:



Not entirely sure what this one will be about either. Either vampire or shapeshifter, but leaning towards shapeshifter. I love vampires but I already have one on the backburner and right now I think the vamp market needs to cool some. Thanks Stephenie >.< Glittery vamps can go die now plzkthx.

Speaking of writing I didn't do any yesterday. Bad me, I'm going to fall so far behind on my target. I've been doing...well not great, but not bad either. I know if I can just get in one 7k day, I can stick to it. The Dragon King is almost at 30k (1,761 words short to be exact), which is sooooooooo cool. I think I'm just going to make it straight out asian fantasy in the rewrite. Well, maybe not completely asian fantasy because I have another story idea set in this world, and nothing of it is asian-based. Watching Fuurin Kazan is providing lots of good visual aid ^_^ Still need a subbed version of the whole show, it'd be nice to know what's going on. My untitled dark fantasy, which is kind of leaning towards Demon King as a tentative title at least, has clocked in currently at 10,433 words. I think I'll finally start working on chapters now that I'm out of spontaneous scenes. Revenant is at 4,056 which I think will be the first one I tackle later today, going for 5,944 words; Redemption is at 6,213 and still has plenty of spontaneous scenes left to write; my untitled historical is back on the backburner at 1,136 words; my untitled warlord story is also on the backburner at 1,000 words; and A Game of Nobles remains at 1,000, which was actually kind of a spontaneous addition. I had two scenes I didn't want to forget, and figured I'd add it to the tally.

So current wordcount total: 65,729. For anyone doing the math, those counts above don't include the 13,652 I added to a three-year-old manuscript back in January. As that story is done now, nothing more gets added to it.

Now for some sleep, then off to the Harvest Festival! I'm debating whether to take Dalila - on one hand the socialization would be good for her, and she loves people. On the other I kind of don't want to divide my attention between saying hi to friends, doing a bit of shopping and calming the nut. Guess we'll see. I'll post later about it either way!

EDIT: so this is the room GACKT is staying in at the Casa Loma. All I can say is OMFG I WANT. I've decided that if I ever make enough money I'm renting this room for a week either monthly or bimonthly to work in. I've never really thought about what my dream workspace would be before, but damn I'll take that!

What a Week

So glad it's over. Friday Dalila hit her head and had a dizzy spell for like 30minutes after we came in. Then Sunday she was sick. Monday she seemed to be getting better. Monday night and Tuesday morning I was writing like a fiend, and stayed up until 3:30am writing. Felt sooooooo good. Unfortunately Dalila had another 'bout of the runs, so I spent another 30 minutes cleaning that and her up and wasn't asleep an hour before being woken up by Dalila. She spent all of Tuesday morning vomitting, I couldn't get to the vet until 10:30am and I pretty much was operating on no sleep (not that I'd been sleeping well before Tuesday either). We were so frantic we didn't think to keep her in the kitchen where cleaning would have been easier until like 9am, but once we did I went to lay down for a bit. A bit being like 30 minutes but I managed to grab 10 minutes of sleep. The vet tested for parvo (she's been innoculated against that, but the vet said sometimes they can still get it) which thankfully was negative, it turned out she had a bug. So three different meds later, we went home and I kept her in the kitchen for the rest of the afternoon. Not ten minutes after being home she pooped a whole lot of blood. Called the vet again and the receptionist asked the vet about it for me, and he said it would be normal for the next 24 hours. So long as she didn't get lethargic (I had her explain that to me just to make sure I knew what to look for :) ) she would be fine. Thankfully there was no lethargy and by Wednesday she was back to her old self again. Of course then I got a little sick, my wisdoms decided to move which was kind of agonizing - I usually have a pretty good pain tolerance but this had me ready to take a lorazepam or two just so I could sleep through it. I didn't though, and I think I found a dentist I can go to. It's hard when you're not covered by insurance. Also on Tuesday I found out that GACKT's coming to Toronto for TIFF, and I of course can't go. The setup at the venue doesn't allow the public to get near the red carpet, and even in the very unlikely event tickets are avaliable to the public I now haven't got the money for one. So close and yet so far. Ugh.

Some good news though! Cesar Millan is doing a seminar tour, and one of his stops will bring him my way which I think is totally cool! I have no idea if he's bringing any of his dogs, I hope they let him bring Junior though. I say hope because my stupid city has a pit bull ban which I think is by far the stupidest thing in the world. Dogs are work, big dogs are a lot of work and if you aren't prepared to exercise them right you have no business owning one. I'm sick of dogs being penalized for people's stupidity. Anyway, I'm going to try and get tickets to see him, but at the very least I'll be scooping out downtown :D He's the only reason I actually made that step to own a dog. I'd love to thank him for the great tools he gives dog owners and for giving me the confidence to even own a dog.

Wordcount Update

Yay, I passed a milestone! The way I calculate it, if I keep to 7k every day until my deadline I can easily make the 1 million goal. Until then, this is where I stand:

Path of the Hunter - 13,652

The Dragon King - 19,390

A Game of Nobles - 1,000

untitled warlord story - 1,000

untitled historical - 1136

Revenant - 4,056

Redemption - 4,634

untitled dark fantasy - 8,000

Grand Total: 52,868

August Blog Chain - The Colour of Writing

I wasn't sure if I was going to dive into this one, but I like the topic so thought I'd give it a go. Even though the idea is supposed to be a fun topic, it's kind of got me thinking and all insightful and such. Mainly because I've never actually given any thought to what colour my writing would be. If I were to look at it from a story point of view, that would so differ from story to story; Path of the Hunter for example would mostly be a dominant green, with hues of blue or sickly red depending on the scene. Revenant would be a much darker, almost sinister sort of colour with just hints of light. Then there's Redemption, which is fairly colourful but always bright in its colours. My mood kind of changes depending on the story I'm sitting and writing to, I'm of the type who can't work on a certain story if I'm not in the mood for it. I just end up frustrating myself. But if I had to pick based on my writings lately, I'd have to say my writing colour is grey. Not a dull grey, but that stormy grey thunderclouds are. I'd say my whole mindframe can be sort of like a thunderstorm. The darkness varies, and you can never be quite sure just how it's going to turn out. Either really dark with an amazing show as a result, a misleading little shower, nice steady downpour or completely uneventful. Got to love the joys of writing dark fantasy :)

Do be sure to check out the other participants in the awesome blogchain - you might find some new ones to follow!

Aheïla - direct link to her post
Ralph_Pines - direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin - direct link to her post
semmie - direct link to her post
Anarchicq - direct link to her post
CScottMorris - direct link to his post
PASeasholtz - direct link to his post
LadyMage - direct link to her post
orion_mk3 - direct link to his post
DavidZahir - direct link to his post
aimeelaine - direct link to her post
FreshHell - direct link to her post
sbclark - direct link to her post
Bettedra - direct link to her post
Guardian - direct link to her post
M.R.J. Le Blanc - You Are Here
Alpha_Echo
laffarsmith

Growing Momentum

Was feeling very off-kilter yesterday, but the reason why was so worth it. I was up late (as usual), trying to work on this untitled dark fantasy I've got going. I really shouldn’t be, but I don’t want to forget the scene ideas. Usually if I can just get them out of the way, I can return my focus back to the stories I’m working on. So around 3am...I don't know what happened, but I just starting writing. Between then and nearly 5am I managed to belt out just over 2000 words like it was as natural as breathing. Today, another 2k, not quite as easily but easily enough. That is the writer I remember myself being. That is how I spent my Novembers when I first started NaNo, pouring out words like that daily and reaching my word count goal a few days before the end. I wish I knew how I let that slip. Not this year. 5k a day, I’m coming for you. And if it kills me this year I will achieve a 20k word weekend.

Trying to get writing done during the day is getting a little frustrating though. Pup can’t seem to entertain herself for more than a few minutes before she’s whining at me. My brain feels like it’s ready to implode from the sheer frustration. I wonder how many ice cubes it’s going to take to trigger her nap – that would come in handy right now!

A journal I just started following (over on Blogger) had an interesting entry. The author was talking about how she was cheating on her current story with another story. I don’t know why it stood out to me considering it’s something I do all the time. Hmm. Maybe that’s why it stood out to me. I’m a story serial cheater. And I’m pretty lax about that. On one hand that isn’t such a good thing because I’m not focusing on one project at a time, and that sort of affects my discipline. On the other, my big goal for this year is to hit the one million words mark so if I’m inspired to write several thousand on another story, why not go for it you know? Maybe it’s an excuse, but at this point because of how far behind I am I’m in more of a ‘whatever works’ mode than ‘pick one and stick to it’. Maybe once I catch up some and am closer to where I want to be I’ll settle and focus more, but right now it’s the All Words Are Good Words mantra.

I’m going to need a lot more caffeine.

Clothing Love

Just saw these at HolyClothing.com, which I found on FB awhile ago. I'm a fan of the more unique things, which you just can't find in a lot of the stores (and when you can, they're more for the tiny population!) These are some of their newest, and I am in LOVE:


Ariana


Persephone


Roxy


Mona


Alyssa


Meriel

Oh I should stop there, before the wishlist gets any bigger. Have a look if you want something a little different. Judging by the customer pics their stuff looks and fits just perfectly. I so need to do some shopping soon...

Dog Days

I think my summer cold is back. I'll never understand why a winter cold is so much easier to shake, but I'd love to know why. This thing has been off and on since June. Blech.

Despite that, it’s been a beautiful few days. Well, aside from the water being off for about seven hours for repairs on Thursday, but that's been happening so often in this building you hardly notice when you prep for it. The muggy heat is still kicking around, but there has been a gorgeous cool breeze that actually made it pleasant to be outside. Plus mostly clear blue skies with some beautiful sunshine...yes, very lovely day. It was a little easier keeping Dalila out longer, when it's muggy I don't enjoy being out there and she gets too easily overheated, so I limit it to 30 minutes. Less if she's constantly stopping. Today we were out almost an hour mostly waiting on my mom who we ended up missing anyway. She was later than I thought she'd be. Anywho. While walking around the building I came upon this guy who owns a rottweiller wandering around the back grass behind my building. That in itself isn't unusual, there's a few dog owners in the general area who pass through there and so long as they pick up after their animals no one minds. And I've seen him around, and he has by far the best behaved dog out of all the dog owners I see. His dog doesn't pull, doesn't try to wander, doesn't try to go up to people uninvited and is always right beside him.

So we approached and I tried to get Dalila to just walk since she's started a habit of barking her goofy head off at any dog around, and I'd like her to learn that we don't do that. She was good until the rottie saw us and started sort of rearing up and getting all excited. Not aggressively, not all that excitedly but you have to admit, when you're a dog that barely stands 15 inches tall a rottie doing the dog equivalent of 'hey you're another dog! I want to come say hi!' can be a wee bit intimidating. He's a good owner though, made his dog lie down and kind of chuckled at Dalila's barking as I tried to calm her down - it's comforting when you see another owner who kind of 'gets it' and doesn't try to just walk away - and tried to coax her over to see her. Of course he gave me the standard 'oh you don't have to worry about my dog' but I could tell even before we walked up to them that it really was okay. Some owners will give you that line will either being clueless or ignorant that their dog actually is something to be worried about. I didn't realize just how big this rottie is! I stand at about 5'5, 5'6 and the top of his head came to my abdomen. Really friendly dog though, immediately sniffing out the treats in my pocket that I use for Dalila's training. The owner and I chatted a moment, and then we both went our own ways. Naturally when the rottie starts walking away from her, Dalila kind of looks at him like 'where are you going?' If anyone can tell me how to say ‘learn to properly meet dogs and they won’t leave early, silly’ in dog I’d be so grateful.

Quiet Again

Been a bit silent around the old blog, but I have reasons I promise :) Cleaning off the hard drive, as I've been steadily losing disk space especially over the past year. WoW is slowly eating up space on this very old thing, I don't think it's going to take the next expansion very well. There'll be Cataclysm all right - in more ways than one. I'm going to miss vanilla Warcraft though. The only issue I have with the next expansion is that it's going to permanently change the landscape, so there's no going back to the old version if you ever wanted to reminisce. The changes have their perks - new quests, high-level zones brought down to low level zones (and vice versa), the ability to use flying mounts anywhere, previously ignored zones getting new life, and even a heroic Deadmines. Though, you kind of have to be a longtime Alliance player to sort of get why a heroic Deadmines is funny. But anyone who says Blizzard doesn't pay attention to its players needs to go have a look at the Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeroy Jenkins! achievement and the story behind that. One player's stupidity becomes a popular achievement. Go figure. Though I learned that Baron Rivendere, the last boss in Stratholme (undead side) is going to be removed permanently from the game upon Cataclysm's release. Probably because something is finally going to happen with that city (I heard that there's a possibility the Plaguelands is going to end up restored to its original state before the plague, which would include Stratholme). On the downside this means his mount will no longer be ingame, and it's hard enough to get as it is. I've killed him 3 times, still haven't seen it in the loot table. Hopefully there's still time. Blizzard's established a sort of tradition of releasing expansions in November, but considering this is now August and Cata is still in beta, a release this November sounds like a bit of a rush. I guess we'll see, and it'll depend on how many issues (if any) show up in the beta.

My daily writing momentum is picking up. I'm getting closer to maintaining 1k a day, which isn't bad. Isn't where I'd like to be, but it's a start. I have to keep that balance of pushing myself, but not pressuring myself. Is that even possible? I don't like pressuring myself because I have a hard time maintaining myself when I stumble while trying to be where I want to be. I have to kind of 'trick' myself psychologically, like I did with my 'resolutions'. I hate using that word, I don't know anyone who's ever kept their New Year's Resolutions all the way through. It's funny how a simple change of words can affect you, and I'm proud to say I'm nearly halfway through my goals/resolutions list. You do what works.

Ah, the culling continues. Maybe I should rename my computer to Stratholme :) A lesson from college, renaming the computer and the admin account. It makes it a little more difficult for hackers to find your system and hack into it, as most count on a generic name and the standard Administrator name to access your system. It isn't 100% foolproof, but it was a layer of security added to many layers. That and good passwords. I always make sure mine are extra-lengthy, anywhere between 19-29 characters. Though I make sure to have a hard copy of all of my passwords near the computer in the event that I forget them (and I often do!)

Really, I did have a title...

I have new hair colour!

I've been a redhead for YEARS, I love being a redhead. But now that I'm growing my hair out red is just going to be too costly to keep up, so I went back to my natural colour. I nearly forgot what that was lol It's dark brown, but it's so dark that it almost looks black (and does in some light). I actually quite like it - hopefully I won't get bored of it anytime soon (like I did with blonde oh-so-long-ago).

Tried to take a pic, but the damn camera won't stay on long enough to do so. Damn cheap batteries.

Samhain has an open call for an anthology they're publishing next spring. I think I'm going to go for it. Max wordcount is 25k, I think I can manage that. Novellas were never my strong suit, but Samhain is one of my dream publishers and it would help any future submissions I make to them. Plus their covers are gorgeous! Deadline is November, so I do have time. I don't want to waste it though, I want plenty of time for edits and hopefully to have a few beta readers look it over.

Just checked the status on my CDJapan order, and it is officially in Canada now! I love tracking numbers. I'm going to hope it'll be delivered today, but considering yesterday was a holiday and the post offices weren't open it might not be until Wednesday. Which is still fine, I'm not going to lose sleep over a day. But if they do what they've done in the past, deliver the notice without having made any attempt to deliver the package I'm heading over to the post outlet and complaining. I don't understand why a delivery person would even do that (or rather not do that), but they've done it to me before. Once I even got the delivery notice with my regular mail - the day after it was 'delivered'. Such bullcrap. At least that day I was able to just walk to the outlet and pick it up, but it still bugged me.

Wordcount Update

Path of the Hunter - 13,652

The Dragon King - 18,668

A Game of Nobles - 588

untitled warlord story - 450

untitled historical - 1,136

Revenant - 1,528

Grand Total: 36,022

Yes, I am woefully behind.

Bouncing Topics

I haven't forgotten about my blogs. I don't know if it's been the weather or something else, but I haven't had the energy to do much of anything. Totally killed any inspiration, it was like I spent the last week in a fog. It does happen every once in awhile, but I hate it. I lose so much time. But at least I'm starting to make up for it.

Yesterday I pulled out all my NaNoWriMo stuff and started sorting through that. I organize the events for NaNo in my area, which I love doing but I kind of bombed it last year. It was an awful year though, I was pretty sick. This year's going to be much better though. I had hoped to be done by now, but considering NaNo doesn't begin until November I still have some time. Plenty of time, actually. This year, come hell or high water I am not going to be rushing around at the last minute trying to get things together! October and November are stressful enough, and I'm still waiting for my Wrimo-From-Hell year. Seems like everyone gets at least one, and it usually gets handled better when you're not stressed out of your mind. Everything's been cleaned out, I made my list and boy do I have a lot to do. I'm giving some things a revamp also, I think people are getting bored of the same thing time and time again. I know I kinda am. I do already have my story idea for November based on a dream I had last night, dark fantasy as usual. No title yet, but it looks like it's gonna be so much fun. My goal is to finish at least 2 stories before then though. Maybe going into it with that achievement will give me some additional boost. I'm back up to 1667 words a day, almost!

I can't believe the chefs on this season of Hell's Kitchen. I'm no chef, but I know what different meats look and feel like when they're done. These are supposed to be professional chefs - how the hell do you constantly serve up raw food and not know it?! Granted the last four are getting a little better, but they're still pretty pathetic for what are supposed to be professional chefs.

By week's end my EVER cds ship from CDJapan! I'm so freaking excited. Not only is one the limited edition, but both are First Press Editions which have since sold out. I usually miss First Press (thought I managed to snag a First Press copy of Setsugekka, but no such luck). That should be here by next week, whenever the regular edition arrives and they can ship the order. Also coming this week is a $100 gift certificate to Chapters - shopping fun! New GACKT music, new books...yes I be a happy girl.

Now if puppy would learn to occupy herself I'd be even happier...

Happy Birthday to Me!

Woo, today's my birthday. Pretty quiet, I'm holding off really 'celebrating' until next week when my mom's on vacation. Hard when the day is during the week. I did get cake though:



Ice cream cake rocks so much. Of course it melts fast, so it's kind of beat-the-dessert.

Well The Dragon King is all nice and caught up. I feel so much better about the connection between Amaya and Celios, he's such a charmer. So now I'm going to write another scene later in the book before jumping to Fallen, writing up some scenes for that and see where I go from there. Might be chapter 4 of Dragon King, or perhaps starting my historical. I love Liquid Story Binder, but the one fault it has is that if the computer shuts off due to a power outage or a reset you lose any updates unless you turn on the 30second update. The only problem is that it messes with your system. So Microsoft Word is my first processor of choice.

Next week I hopefully get to do some birthday shopping, though I still haven't decided where. I could use a stack of new books, but I'd also like to do some shopping on CDJapan (for GACKT stuff, of course :) ). Of course, what I'd really like is those photocards from the YFCz concert - not the sex ones, the other ones. Wish I knew someone going to a show, and how much it would cost to (hopefully) get an entire set.

Now to catch up on blogs!

Warm Fuzzies

I should do blog chains more often. It’s been fun not only reading about other writers’ antagonists (the theme being not only to talk about them, but cast them in a sympathetic light), but seeing what folks had to say about my own. It was a nice exercise too, because it allowed me to flesh out some story I hadn’t known before. Really got me thinking about who Kieran actually is, what he does and more importantly why he does what he does. Most of what I wrote will be hinted along the storytelling, some might change but I think I’ve garnered some sympathy for him. Though I think more pathetic-sympathy rather than poor-him-sympathy. You can read it here, and judge for yourself.

I love hinting at things. Almost as much as I love getting comments about my writings. I sometimes wonder if I get too hung up on feedback, but I suppose so long as I can make sure it doesn’t get in the way of things it can’t hurt. Besides, they make me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

Man I really need to do an update on my total word count. Add that to the list of Things To Do This Weekend. Right now it’s 4am as I’m typing this up. Off to grab some sleep.

Blog Chain - Sympathy for the Antagonist

This is my first time doing a blog chain from AbsoluteWrite, but it sounded like fun so I went for it. The topic for this chain is: Cast your antagonist in a sympathetic light. This was a bit of a hard pick for me; I can't choose from The Dragon King, since the antagonist is a bit of a mystery until The Dragon Queen. So I went with my as-yet-untitled historical fantasy. I'm kind of shocked myself that I'm even writing a historical anything, but it should be fun. I'm taking a page from IrishAnnie and ad-libbing, hopefully I've managed to inspire some sympathy for Kieran. I'll let you decide:

Some men have all the luck.

That was what Kieran thought every time he had the misfortune of being reminded of Byrne. Though both gentlemen and thus of equal class, it always seemed to him that Byrne had more. More wealth, more company, more everything. True Kieran was no country gent; at three thousand pounds a year he lived rather comfortably and wanted for nothing. But it seemed measly compared to Byrne’s four thousand pounds, even though it was only a slight difference. And while Kieran’s lands were well enough Byrne’s were far more fertile. Even the ladies seemed to favour the shy but pleasant Byrne over Kieran, and he had no shortage of admirers. It wasn’t until Kieran met Caelie that he finally felt like he was beginning to get on top.

Caelie was the daughter of a rather wealthy gentleman, but even without her thirty thousand pounds Kieran still would have pursued her. With her warm smile, refined beauty and hair like sunlight Caelie was a worthy catch, and he had fallen completely in love with her. For weeks he would court her, though she was shy and reserved he was certain of her affections for him. However in the back of his mind he was always wary about Byrne coming around and stealing Caelie from him, so when Lady Anne announced yet another ball Kieran knew he had to find a way to stop Byrne from attending. It took a great deal of convincing but Byrne was trusting enough and took Kieran at his words, so by the time the night arrived he was sure that there would be no interference.

The night started well enough. Caelie arrived shortly after him and he spent all his time by her side. He tried to make sure everyone could see them together, though getting her on the dance floor was a challenge. She didn’t seem particularly interested; he thought perhaps the talk she was surely hearing floating through the room about their romance had probably made her nervous. But everything seemed to change in an instant the minute Byrne showed up in the ballroom. Kieran fumed, and not just because of the warm reception Byrne was receiving. How dare he show up here, after he had worked so hard to ensure that his rival didn’t attend at all! He should have been at home, at his estate in the country, anywhere but here! The man seemed oblivious to his glare as he made his way slowly through the ballroom and, unfortunately, towards Kieran and Caelie. Quickly his anger turned to desperation as he tried to subtly steer both himself and Caelie away from Byrne’s approach but there was no where to go. Right then he caught sight of the couple and the moment Byrne’s eyes met Caelie’s Kieran ceased to exist. He seethed as he watched the new couple converse as easily as if they had known each other for months, watched as Caelie smiled and laughed like she had never done with him. And when Byrne managed to whisk her out on the dance floor it was all Kieran could do not to break something and cause a scene. He left that night in a fit of anger with the bitter realization that no one had noticed and the gossip of an impending engagement between Byrne and Caelie ringing in his mind. He had lost out to Byrne for the last time.

When Caelie died not long after Byrne had withdrawn almost completely from good society. It had crushed him to his core, and for the next few years no one saw much of him at all. Finally Kieran was on top; he began attracting some of the company and admirers that had once been Byrne’s, and a handsome inheritance from a distant relative saw him with more wealth as well. He had grown so confident in his new status in town that even when Byrne emerged back into society he didn’t feel the least bit threatened. He was sure that things wouldn’t be the same for Byrne, but he was more than shocked to be proven wrong. Not only had Byrne been welcomed by society, and not only had many of his old admirers, whom Kieran thought had forgotten or lost interest in favour of him, resumed their interests…the man had fallen in love! Again! What right did he have to any sort of happiness after what he had done to him? Was it not bad enough that Kieran had to work so hard for what came so easily to Byrne, that Byrne would come back to bring ruin upon him once again?

He wasn’t going to have it this time. This time it would be different. When Byrne went down, Kieran would make sure he stayed there for good.


Did I succeed? I'm not sure, I liked the original better. Unfortunately blogger ate it. Yeah I was pretty miffed.

Check out these other links in the blog chain:

CScottMorris: http://cscottmorrisbooks.com/ and direct link to his post
Aheïla: http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: http://clairegillian.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
DavidZahir: http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/ and direct link to his post
IrishAnnie: http://superpenpower.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
Anarchicq: http://anarchicq.com/ and direct link to her post
Proach: http://everythinghistorical.wordpress.com/ and direct link to her post
devero: http://mysticcrossroads.wordpress.com/ and direct link to his post
hillaryjacques: http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com/ and direct link to her post
LadyMage: http://www.katherinegilraine.com/ and direct link to her post
M.R.J. Le Blanc: You are here
Mariekeme: http://www.mariekenijkamp.com/
aimeelaine: http://www.aimeelaine.com/writing/blog
Fokker Aeroplanbau: http://rightfarright.blogspot.com/
Irissel: http://irissel.blogspot.com/
CowgirlPoet: http://frontnotes.blogspot.com/
Collectonian: http://collectonian.livejournal.com/
Amb The Creative: http://ambthecreative.blogspot.com/
defyalllogic: http://tavialewis.com/hyperbolicallyspeaking/
Alpha Echo: http://writersramblings81.blogspot.com/
cryaegm: http://enigmainklings.blogspot.com/

Happy Early Birthday to Me (sort of)

I sort of gifted myself with an early birthday present today, even though technically it won't get here until early August.




The release date isn't until the 28th of this month, but I wanted to order early. The first disc is a special edition version and I didn't want to run the risk of it selling out. I can't wait now!

Some Fun

I was inspired by Falen's post a few days ago, where she made some cool business cards. I've noticed that business cards seem to be growing in popularity lately with authors, which while I was initially skeptical about them they actually kind of make sense. They're versatile little things, and I remember getting asked for one a couple of years ago when I was looking for NaNo meeting places which was another situation I didn't think would even merit them. So I gave them a try and this is what I came up with. Some have backs while others don't; Vistaprint's designs didn't always thrill me:











What do you think?

To See The World

I've always wanted to travel, not so much for writing but my own pleasure. I especially love places with history, feeling like then and now coexist in the same place. I visited a place like that once, Crawford Lake Conservation area. It was a school trip that we took in the winter, which added to the atmosphere methinks. One (possibly two) of the Iroquois longhouses had been fully reconstructed as if the natives still lived there. One was merely framework at the time, and with the reconstructed burial site not far from it it was delightfully haunting. Standing there truly felt like stepping back in time. I loved it. Since then I've racked up a list of places I'd like to eventually go out and see:

-Vancouver, British Columbia (okay not much in the way of history, but an old penpal was from Vancouver and sent me a booklet. Since then it's been on my list)

-Ireland

-Scotland

-Japan

-Egypt

-Morocco

-Tibet

Other places have sort of come and gone, but this is my core list. It's really cool to see what's out there in ways of festivals and celebrations especially, that's probably the best time to travel. I hope one day to update this blog with tales and photos of these places from a first person view, but until then I'll bide my time planning my future vacations :)

And what parts of the world are you itching to see?

Music Bugs

I've had this in my head for two days now:



I love the song, it's one of the ones whose story really stuck out to me. A very unique love song. However it was soon replaced with this:



Not that I'm complaining. I LOVE this song, it's second only to "Malioumba" for me. And for laughs:

Heat Wave

Day three of scorching heat. Supposedly this is supposed to break in my area by week's end, but we'll see. I miss the nice warm heat that we had last week - this muggy heat is terrible. It also doesn't help being on the 6th floor as the heat rises, so the past few days I've been maneuvering around fans and one of the air conditioner (we have one portable one, and one that stays in the window) to try and keep everywhere cool. The living room is proving to be the hardest, right now I've got the window a/c down to its lowest setting and just stuck the fan on, plus the ceiling fan is on just to my right. I don't like using so much energy, and I'd grin and bear it but with a puppy with long fur and a chinchilla you just can't do that. C'est la vie I suppose. I hope the mugginess passes, and leaves us with just the warmth. It's nice to open the windows to cool evening air.

Dalila went for a vet visit yesterday evening. The usual checkup and shots, she's not unwell. It was a new vet for her and us but she did really well. I was glad that the vet's office was empty of patients, Dalila's still a little unsure of other dogs and tends to get a bit aggressive. Her first experiences haven't been good ones (you'd be a little scared too if the first barking dog you ever encountered was not one but two Old English Sheepdogs), but I'm working on that. She was great in the car once I got her to sit, and was a mix of unsure curiousity in the office itself. I was glad I brought the training treats because that helped also :) We got her weighed (18.3 pounds, luckily this is a healthy weight for her), did a full physical and got her shots updated so she's good for the year. She did better than I thought she would especially with the needles, I was afraid she would start squirming and make it difficult but she didn't. The vet is great and overall a good experience.

Time to get Dalila another ice cube. Stay cool everyone!

Reviews - Losing their Value?

They're sort of a staple in both the book world and the movie world. But honestly they seem to be losing their value - at least to me.

Let's take movies, for example. I've seen a handful of reviews in the paper by critics who admit somewhere in the review that the movie they're reviewing isn't their sort of movie. Puzzles me why they'd bother, but whatever. The thing is they seem to have a problem with remaining objective, which to me makes the whole review completely useless. Just because you don't like the genre, doesn't mean the movie itself sucks. Not all reviews mind you, but you can tell who's ragging on a movie because they think it's stupid as compared to someone who's saying a bad movie really is that bad. Then there's the review comments on movie trailers. Every single movie since June has been dubbed the summer's hottest movie. Seriously, I highly doubt that. Especially with a movie like The Last Airbender which is getting a lot of bad reviews (which is a shame - it sounded promising when it was first announced).

Then there's the book world - most specifically I'm talking about Amazon reviews. In theory they're a good idea; people sharing what they thought of a book can often be a determining factor for some readers as to whether they'd give that book a chance. The problem is they've become so subject to abuse now. Look at how many people will post a review that essentially says nothing more than it sucked. Or how many people will get family and friends to post favourable reviews just to make their book sound good. Or how many writers are resorting to sockpuppet accounts to either provide favourable reviews to their own books, or rip on their competition. Sure you do get some reviews that are detailed, but their value seems to be overshadowed. Reviews aren't high on my will-I-buy-this-book checklist, but I have to admit I give a book that has lots of trade reviews more weight than one with a bunch of Amazon reviews. I've heard quite a few tales of self- and vanity-pubbed authors especially who spent a lot of time on Amazon trying to build up reviews and hype and it's not worked out for them. Unrealistic expectations or putting too much merit on an any-review-is-a-good-review? Probably a bit of both, I suppose.

From what I've gleaned researching, Amazon reviews don't hurt sales but they don't necessarily improve them either. I guess the smartest way to go about them is if you get nice reviews on Amazon, fantastic. Be happy. But is it worth wasting valuable writing time trying to aquire reviews from members? Eh, probably not.

E-Readers

Writer Beware has posted a couple of times about competition in the e-reader market, and I've been trying to keep up with the e-pub market in general. I think it's important to be well-informed on what's really going on in both print and e-pub if you're going to go into writing; that's the only way to make the right decisions as to which way you're going to take your career. I'm totally lost with e-readers though - the Nook, the Kindle, the iPad, and I'm sure there are others. How do you pick the best? Everyone who uses an e-reader has their preferences, and you do have to take things online with a grain of salt when you do research about anything. That daunting research isn't the only reason I'm still hesitant about actually getting one though. Aside from the fact that I can't afford one right now and it just feels like a tease to look, I'm not always good with portable technology. I'm still surprised my digital camera works after all this time (and drops - what a trooper it is!), and my mp3 player has gone through such a beating that it no longer works quite right. Thankfully it still actually plays music, but it gets annoying when you're trying to change songs and the volume goes up. E-readers are just a little too expensive for my klutziness right now. Also there's my biggest fear: dropping it in the tub. A book you can sometimes save, or it's easily enough to replace. An e-reader? Not so much.

It does bring up some interesting conversation about ownership of e-books. I believe it's Amazon who has been known to remove e-books from peoples' devices without notification, which has miffed people. And understandably so, as ebooks aren't always that much cheaper than their physical counterparts. So should books be viewed and treated differently because of their formats? Is a book more 'yours' when you buy it as a physical product as opposed to a digital one? Personally my answer is no. Aside from the price point, I'm the type of reader who enjoys my favourite books over and over. If I read a book only once it's because I didn't enjoy it. So when I click on that 'buy' link, that's under the insinuation that I'm purchasing goods. To keep. If Amazon or anyone else wants to adopt a 'borrowing' model that's their right. I'm sure there are readers out there who might actually like that model and I can see the good in it. But it has to be clear to the customer just under what conditions they're getting the book. And from the sounds of what people have had to say about books being unknowingly removed from their devices, it doesn't sound like that's happening. Things have to be defined now while the industry is still young, or they're going to cripple a growing industry before we really get to see its potential. My two cents anyway, for what it's worth, and subject to change :)

In a perfect world where it was just a matter of picking one I think I'd go with the iPad. I have to admit the commercials have me pretty impressed, and if I could I would totally get this for it:

Birthday Wishes!

Wishing all my American friends and followers a happy Fourth of July! Hope there's lots of fireworks, lots of fun and good weather for all. Be safe, be happy and enjoy the company of friends and family.

And a Happy 37th Birthday to GACKT. Congratulations on all that you've accomplished and here's to many many more. Hope your day is spent surrounded by those you love most. Now get some rest ;)

Writing Essentials

Brief post, because I'm not sure about what to write today.

I'm sure many writers have their essentials, like I asked Cindy when I interviewed her. We can't always have our perfect ideal setting, but I personally have some things that just make the setting for me:

-things for Dalila - ice cubes, cookies (she knows that word now), toys, etc. It's very difficult to focus when a puppy is whining for your attention. Even better is getting her to nap by either rigorous playtime or a walk.

-music - absolutely a must-have. Major contributors to my current playlist are the World of Warcraft soundtracks, GACKT, Alessandro Safina, Tears for Fears, Shakira, the Crisis Core soundtrack, and a random assortment of single songs from all sorts of genres (really too many to list).

-iced cappuccino. Other caffine drinks will substitute.

-internet. For inspiration, research and procrastination.

-World of Warcraft access. For inspiration or de-stressing.

-a clean desk. I can't write with clutter.

So what are some of your writing essentials?

Dalila (P.S. - She's not a Miniature!)

Thought I'd do a post about her, since she's just too cute not to :)

Dalila is a purebred Shetland Sheepdog. Her father is Ch. Highledge Irish Cream ROMC and her mother is Can Ch Bonnyville's Prismatic CGN, and I got her from her father's breeder. I met with the breeder 3 times before I brought her home, and it was worth it - just to see her beautiful dogs if nothing else! I totally advocate adoption from shelters, but if you're going to go for a purebred, make sure you at least get them from a quality breeder.

Things you have to know about Shelties:

-They're loud. I don't say that because she's my dog, they really are that loud. Coming from the Shetland Islands they had to develop a bark that could be heard over the high winds and crashing waves. They succeeded.

-Shelties are a herding breed, so expect lots of energy. Dalila can most definitely be calm, but when she goes she really goes! Good ways to channel their instincts are herding classes or agility classes. Dalila seems to show more of a natural tendancy towards agility (she loves jumping off things, weaving through dining room chairs, etc.) so we're going to go that way once she's 100% obedience trained.

-They're fast learners. Dalila was learning sit when she was like 8 weeks old - and got it too. She picked up potty training well too, as well as crate training and it took around a week to nail those. Now she knows sit, come, off, up and she's starting to get come and lie down. I say starting because she only does it about half the time - but we're getting there.

-And lastly, they're not miniatures! I have to rant a bit, I am so sick of people asking/saying 'oh so she's a miniature'. She's not a miniature anything! Collies are large dogs, shelties are small. There are no such things as miniature collies or miniature shelties - it's just people trying to pass on very small dogs as something they're not. So if you ever see a sheltie on the street, please don't call it a miniature. Think of my sanity :)

Happy Canada Day!

It's July 1st, so I'd like to wish all my followers a Happy Canada Day from me, even if you're not from Canada. I'm sitting comfortably at my desk watching amateur fireworks displays that other people are currently blasting off, beats going to the city display for the most part. Naturally that show is amazing, but at least I don't have to deal with crowds, cold (it's chilly tonight!), mosquitos and crowds. Yeah, I don't like crowds. I don't have that kind of patience lol

I have a new challenge set for this month. One blog post, every day. I want to get back into that habit, so what better way than a challenge? I'm even typing up blogposts ahead of time, so at least on those days when I don't feel like a spontaneous blogpost, something still goes up. Not only that, but I'm hoping it'll help with my writing habit also. Blizzard (the company behind World of Warcraft, Diablos and StarCraft) is hosting a short story contest and I intend to enter it this time. Right now the toss-up is a story centering on either Blood Queen Lana'thel or The Dragonqueen Alexstrasza. Both have potential, really. I guess I'll see which one sticks. So hard to choose!

Summer Begins

Today is the third anniversary of my grandpa Fingernagel's death. He passed away at 91 from cancer. I still find it a shame, because he was always in fine health all his life. Both he and my grandmother, I hope to be so lucky when I get that old. He loved to joke and tease, and he was sharp; you couldn't get anything over on him. I always remember his teasing, and it wouldn't be until we were on our way home that I'd think of some whitty response (isn't that how it always goes?), but in those rare moments when I could be just as sharp and quick as he was he'd be doubled over laughing. It always made me happy when I could do that, because it was so damn hard! lol I wish I had spent more time with him, but I guess everyone feels like that when they lose someone they care about. It's also the anniversary of a Japanese musician, Ukyou Kamimura. Kami was the drummer of Malice Mizer, who I actually didn't get into until well after they had broken up though. It's almost surreal to watch performances by someone you find out is no longer here, but he was a great performer to watch. The world will always miss the good ones. Don't cry because they're gone; smile because they lived.

So what's been going on in my end while I've been quiet? Not much, working on therapy mostly. It's hard finding the motivation to get out and do it, but I feel good when I do so that's helping some. I think maybe I need to invest in a bus pass. The city's got to stop jacking up the bus fare, it's just discouraging people from actually riding the bus. I know they've got expenses (especially since all the buses are now new ones), but they've got proof that the rising of the bus fare is actually leading to a decrease in ridership. Just one more reason why I don't like our city council. It's like no one's using their brains down there. And an even bigger city council brainfart: they just invested a bunch of money redoing the farmer's market downtown. Which is great, but now they're taking away the free hour parking because supposedly the city is losing several thousands a year thanks to it. Yeah sure. What they're really saying is 'we can't seem to manage our money properly, so we're just going to take away whatever we can to make up for it'. Folks say you shouldn't complain about politicians if you voted for them or if you didn't vote at all, but I did vote and I didn't vote for any of them so I do have a right :D

Rain's rolling in tonight. I hope the thunderstorm they're calling for is actually worthy of the name. It's back to The Dragon King and Fallen planning for me now, so Happy Solstice everyone!

Author Interview - Cindy Pon!



Woo! I'm so excited to finally post this! Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia, was kind enough to do an interview with me. I really love this book, and the cover art is just gorgeous. So without further ado, the interview!

Okay, let’s get the first routine questions out of the way first. How long have you been writing?

Cindy: Thanks so much for having me, Michelle! I started with poetry as a tween. then moved on to short stories in high school and college. I wrote infrequently during college and then stopped writing altogether for over a decade! Silver Phoenix was the first novel I had written.

Was publishing always your goal?

Cindy: It was a goal in the back of my mind, I think. Publishing a novel was always a "dream goal" from when I was a girl. But when I started the novel, it was more as a challenge. Can I do this? And after I was finished, it seemed like such a waste
not to at least try and get an agent.

Tell me a little about what the process is like after acceptance? What’s in store for an author once their story is picked up by a publisher?

Cindy: I queried 121 agents in about four months time and probably received over 100 rejections. After I signed with agent Bill Contardi, we subbed to eight major publishing houses first. It can take months or even years to hear back. but once one
editor is interested, it all goes down like a stack of dominoes. In the end, Silver Phoenix sold in about five weeks at auction. I spoke with all the editors that were interested in the manuscript and was thrilled to go with Greenwillow Books and (my editor) Virginia.

So what inspired ‘Silver Phoenix’?

Cindy: Fantasy was and will probably always be my first genre love. At the time, I had just started as a chinese brush art student and learning more about the history and culture of China. I thought I'd combine my two interests and the result was Silver Phoenix.

You’ve got a sequel coming soon, ‘Fury of the Phoenix’. Can you tell us anything about it?

Cindy: Yes! I'm working feverishly on the revisions now with my editor. It is two storylines. One of Ai Ling and Chen Yong and the other taking three centuries earlier of Silver Phoenix and Zhong Ye.

Even though your book is fantasy, did you have to do any kind of research?

Cindy: I did a lot of research for both books. Architecture and clothing of ancient
China, the imperial palace, myth and folkore. I won't say what research
for the sequel. =)

Now for some fun stuff. What’s essential to your writing space?

Cindy: Hmm. A drink! Usually a coffee one.

What’s something you just can’t live without?

Cindy: Internet access. Tissues. (ha!)

Favourite food and/or drink to have while writing?

Cindy: I love vanilla lattes and chai lattes and also chinese green teas and milk coffees.

How do you balance family life with your writing?

Cindy: I'm fortunate in that my bubs are both in school most of the day, so I write a lot in the mornings. Also, my husband is so so supportive. Saturdays are all mine too to write or do whatever I need to do!

Lastly, if you could go on a writing retreat anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Cindy: Oh, China of course. Beijing or Hang Zhou.

You can keep up with all the latest about Cindy at her website, check out her profile at HarperTeen, and pick up a copy of "Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia" anywhere you buy books. "Fury of the Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia" comes out April 2011!

Picspam: Puppies and More

First, some Dalila pics:



She adores watermelon, as well as cucumbers and ice cubes. I didn't let her eat the rind.



Nosy bugger.



Happy smile during playtime.



Clearly too tired to eat :) She's since outgrown those bowls.



Being entirely unhelpful while I was cleaning out some files.



Eating grass. Because it's good fiber apparently.



I was waiting for this to arrive before I blogged about it. I entered a contest awhile back on Nene Thomas' fanpage to redesign the website. I didn't win, but I got an email saying that she liked my design so much I could choose a print of my choice and Nene would sign it!



This is the print I chose. It's called 'Whispers' and it's so gorgeous. Right now it's staying rolled up in the safety of the packing tube until I find the right frame and matting to put it in. I'd love to own an original of hers one day. You can see it on her website here.

Disappointment

Rain storm? HAH! Some rain storm. Sunny all day, got a little cloudy in the afternoon, and didn't start spitting until late evening. I waited all day for that darn storm, it didn't even last that long. I was so looking forward to opening the windows and letting some nice rain-washed air in, but no such luck. So I changed around the furniture in my bedroom, since it underwent a spring cleaning (washed the walls and the carpet) I figured it was as good a time as any. And I like it much better this way. Everything seems nicely spaced out, not so cramped. Later I'll put my room back together and maybe take some pictures. I'm planning another picspam post tomorrow :)

Speaking of disappointments, I watched Avatar a few weeks ago. James Cameron, What. The. Hell. He spent ten years on this story and that's what came of it?! Don't get me wrong, the graphics were amazing and I was totally impressed, but that's the only good thing I can say about the movie. The storyline was completely unoriginal. Granted the basic premise isn't new, it's been done at least three times over that I can think of. But still, it didn't seem like he tried much on the storyline side. Ridiculously predictable. It was just original enough that he wasn't blatantly ripping off from someone else. I expected better. It was hard to keep watching because the cliches just made me so angry I couldn't stand it. Plus as I was watching, I kept feeling like there was a prequel to it that I had missed. I don't know if there actually is one, if there is then that would make some sense. Really a damn shame, because those graphics are just cool. Avatar perfectly illustrates the problem with a great deal of movies today though; too much emphasis on effects, not enough emphasis on story. There needs to be a nice balance. Kind of glad I didn't spend the money seeing it in theatres; I don't think even seeing it in 3D could have made up for that poor excuse for a storyline.

Not My May

Yeah, this wasn't a terribly good month overall. Ah well, it's over now. I've got some major catching up to do with regards to writing, I think I needed that break. Plus I got my World of Warcraft account back just over a week ago, and usually when I have gaps between activity I go on a gaming binge :) I'm such a game addict. But it's been one of my bigger inspirations so it's not all that bad. In total it's inspired nine stories to some degree, which is a pretty good chunk for a single source. One I'm working on alongside The Dragon King, which now I don't seem to hate so much anymore. I think I just had overall frustration, but the romance isn't as undefined as I had thought it was. Mind, how fickle you be. Anyway, the new story is called Fallen though whether that title sticks I have no idea. A lot of lore is going into it which likely won't see the light of day, but that's okay. Even hints of lore I find gives the world more realism. I don't feel ready to actually delve into the actual writing of the story just yet, so far it's just plotting various scenes while I work on backstory. One of those no-rush deals. Might be easier to work on once I get The Dragon King all straightened out.

So. This blog. This makes entry #70, so I think I'll be doing a contest once I hit 100 posts. Everyone loves a contest :) Not sure what the prizes are going to be just yet, but I have some ideas. I know popular ones are books, gift cards to B&N and such but I like being a little different. Also I've got some other cool things coming, like author interviews! Okay it's just one so far, but hey it's a start! I'm not announcing who in advance, it's a surprise. So stay tuned for that.

Rain is in the forcast for my area tomorrow. Should be a good writing day! Good thing I took Dalila out twice today (what happened to my little puppy?! She got so big all of a sudden! ;_; ) because I'm probably not going to get a chance with the rain!

Really, I Don't

It's always the same. New agent or publisher rolls onto the scene with no reason for a writer who's serious about their career to bother with. But according to their defenders, we should.

Because he/she is a nice guy/girl.

Usually this common defense is coupled with things like 'well he/she actually takes time for their authors' or 'they give authors a more personal experience than other agencies/publishers' or something similar. And to be honest, defenders of the inexperienced, I don't care. Not that I don't care in the sense that it doesn't matter whether my agent or publisher is nice or a total jacka--, but that it's not much of a determining factor for me. It's not even in my top three. Mine are:

1.)Do they rep/publish my genre?
2.)Do they have relevant experience?
3.)Have they been making good consistant sales to commercial publishers?/Are they selling to the general public?

There's also a fourth, are there any conflict of interests, which I won't go into here. That one aside, I think that's the most important top three a writer should stick to when they're ready to shop a manuscript. In my eyes, if you can't meet ALL of those top three the consideration ends. How nice you are becomes irrelevant. This is a business, and I for one am not here to be someone's guinea pig to learn from. Qualities like niceness, how easy they are to communicate with, etc. should only come into play AFTER meeting the top three. Not before, because then you're just wasting your time. I'll never understand this defense, just like I'll never understand why people query first and ask questions after.

Research. It's your friend.

And Just Like That...

Life returns to some semblance of normal.

It kind of feels like someone pulled the plug on all the stress, and things are a lot calmer now. So needless to say I've been enjoying that for the past few days, as well as getting my energy back. My mind's also cleared which has helped me get back into my writing. I'm still unhappy with how the first few chapters of The Dragon King is working out - well, moreso from Chapter 3 on. Chapters 1 and 2 just required a bit of addition to establish some things I forgot so that's no big deal. I noticed I kept repeating stuff from earlier chapters which is probably part of what drove me nuts that I couldn't pinpoint down. That's a first for me. I'm a little disappointed because I usually have a much better handle on my stories than that, at least enough to not repeat something a few times over. I'm still amazed that this story is giving me so many issues, though that only seems to make me all the more determined to make it work :D I guess every writer gets at least one that's a super challenge which requires a little more work than normal but you do what the story needs you to do. In this case it involves a lot of unincluded back story, worldbuilding, and reading the previous chapters repeatedly.

So I'm back, and immersing myself in stories. And reading - lots of reading. I have quite a bit of blogposts to catch up on, so don't be surprised if I'm showing up on old blog posts ;)

Onward and Upward...Again

Well when the stress won't go away, there's only one thing to really do - persevere. And that means (as the blog title says) going onward and upward.

So what have I been up to lately? Well I'll spare you the personal stuff because it's personal and really it's nothing to bore my blog readers about ;) But I have managed to accomplish a few great things. First and most importantly I've completed the gutting of my room. Finally. I couldn't believe how much room I managed to discover by tossing out the crap that was just cluttering up spaces. I also have a small collection of stuff I'm planning on selling. It's too good quality to toss out or give away, but I have no desire to keep it either. It's mostly some of my Lord of the Rings memorabilia back when I was a fanatical fan. Oh I still love it, but a lot of the stuff I can do without now :) So if anyone on my followers list is interested let me know. I'll show you what I've got and we can discuss payments and such. I'm willing to go a little lower for blog followers. So now it's just a matter of packing up the unwanted clothes and tossing out the recycling which is nothing really. There's a non-profit group in my area for cerebral palsy that periodically goes around neighbourhoods picking up donated clothing which is where all the clothes will be going. No sense letting it go to waste, and I like supporting a cause when I can. I'm a huge supporter of that. I know some people have certain causes or charities they prefer, I'm just more of a help-where-I-can-when-I-can type. Every little bit does help.

Dalila update: progressing well. Training has been kind of interrupted, but she sleeps from 11pm-11:30pm to 6am! You have no idea how excited that makes me! And she walks on the leash when I ask her to. I let her sort of run off most of the energy she has in the morning, usually a couple laps around our buildings (takes about 30min) then I shorten the leash and make her walk beside me. She's got the hang of it though. And I also taught her how to walk up and down the stairs, although going down takes longer. It's new, she's still getting used to that one. But she's just getting too big to carry around now, so no choice. Additional exercise though, which I wouldn't do if she couldn't handle it.

Dragon King has finally started progressing. I managed to close Chapter 3 which came out a lot better than the previous attempts. It's always getting down that attraction that gets me. Building it over time is easy to show, but I wanted the attraction between Celios and Amaya to be purposefully sudden. Because dragons are fantasy creatures I didn't want it to be that typical gradual build, I wanted it to be a different dynamic and experience. I think a lot of us have that fantasy of being swept up in a sudden romance, especially one that's not just physical attraction or a fling. And hey, this is fantasy so why not :) It's nice to move along though, and I started plotting its sequel already too. I couldn't help it, this story just doesn't want to end revealing Amaya's talent and how it affects Celios' dilemma. I could try and cram it all into one story I suppose, but I'd be overshooting the average wordcount for fantasy stories. Or trying to put too much story into too little a space. Two books works better. I wish I knew what it is with me and dualogies lately, this makes 3 stories that are too big for 1 book but not enough story to go past 2.

Also on the subject of writing I've finally managed to bring some sort of organization to the many story ideas I seem to manage to accumulate. They're divided into two groups; story summaries which actually have a plot, and story ideas which are just concepts. Helps me to remember them without having to worry about keeping them all in my head :) Concepts eventually become summaries, and there's some fun ones I'd like to eventually work with. So far I'm up to 24 story summaries and 17 story concepts. Well at least I have plenty to work with, I won't have to worry about running out of stories anytime soon!

Now to end, wordcount updates on the right are current as of today. I'm going to sort of attempt to reach 500k by August 1st. Sort of as in I'm going to give it my best shot, but with my current pace we'll see. I should set a nice reward as incentive...

Still Alive

Just wanted to pass a quick blog post saying that I'm still around :) Things have been INCREDIBLY stressful on my home front, so blog updates haven't exactly been at the forefront of my mind. One will come as soon as possible, I haven't abandoned the blog. So please bear with me as I play catch-up on blogposts - and welcome to my two new followers!

The Ones We Miss

After my little mini-rant I think it's only right I balance it with one that's a little more positive :)

The culling of the bedroom crap continues. I came across a little memory-box type thing I have that I keep things like cards and such in. Most of them I got rid of, some I kept. There were a few names in there of people who I've missed terribly, that I allowed myself to fall out of touch with. I know it was in part due to depression (which I still suffer from), but I still feel horrible that it happened. I keep coming across their names once in awhile and mean to connect again, but it always falls to the wayside. Not this time. This time I'm pulling out their addresses (hoping all the while they still live there!) and am going to do some good ol' fashioned letters. They were good friends, I wish I had been a better one to them. Hopefully I can reconnect.

I also came across some old letters from my grade 11 year in high school. That year a group of us grade 11 students did a 3 day leadership camp, in which we were going to be there as counselors. A big selling point was 3 days off school ;) But anyway. We'd be overseeing a group of several grade-school kids from the elementary schools that fed into our high school, and were guided by a couple of teachers. It was a great three days, the kids were a lot of fun to be with. On the last day, everyone from the kids to the teachers had a period where we had to write letters to everyone who was in our groups and the teachers who organized the camp would mail them out to everyone. I don't remember how long before I got mine, but they really touched me and I kept them, making sure they were somewhere safe so that they wouldn't get lost. I just found them now, re-reading them brought a little tear to my eye. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true. One girl had even said that I had inspired her, which still affects me today reading it as it did when I first got the letter. It's one thing to hear a young kid tell you that you made camp fun; it's something else entirely when a young kid tells you that you inspired them. I hope she went on to do really well in her life.

Past is Past

This is probably going to turn into a mini-rant, but here it is :)

Lately on Facebook I've started getting friend requests from people from my past. Ordinarily one would think this isn't bad, sometimes it's nice to catch up with people you lose touch with. But there's a few people who I never expected to hear from again, and in all honesty didn't want to. Without going into too much detail, my parents split up several years ago. It was pretty ugly for a few years. The thing though is that all these people I had known pretty much all my life, some family and some really close family friends, seem to suddenly become completely non-existant after my parents split. Nobody ever came to either my sister or I and asked us how we were doing. There was no neutral party to rant to, to get away from the stress of the split, to have a shoulder to cry on. It was like all those years didn't matter anymore, and they didn't give a damn about us. Some I tried to keep in touch with, but one clearly had ulterior motives and another clearly wanted nothing to do with me, so eventually I moved on. I stopped thinking and caring about all of them and quite frankly, my life is just fine without them. So I don't know why all of a sudden they care so much about what I'm up to that they're looking me up on FB to try and add me. Maybe I'm a little bitter, but I can honestly say I really don't care what they're up to, and I have no desire to find out. If they couldn't make time for me then, they have no place in my life now.

So if they ever read this (they know exactly who they are) I have only this to say: I don't care about you. I have no desire to re-connect. Trying to get back into my life will only be a waste of your time, because I am perfectly happy without you in it. Stay in my past where you belong, because I only have time for the people who truly care about me. But thanks for showing me what a person who doesn't care about me look like, so I can tell the difference :)

Editing My Life

My room's been a hazard zone ever since I emptied that thing in my room called a closet. I'm being far more careful about what's going back in there than I usually have been in the past, as I'm done having crap piling up. Plus I think the last time I did a cleanout was a couple of years ago. It's really amazing how much things accumulate over even that short period of time! But this time, sentimental feelings are going to have to take a back seat; anything that sticks around better have a good, useful reason for being here. It kind of got me thinking though how similar this is to editing when you think about it. You take the product - in this case the mess - and just start slashing away at the unnecessary stuff until you get a clean, neat finished product. And it's not just a one time edit (my room would be my room again if it was), but re-edits over and over. I guess it's life imitating art. Good practice for when I eventually start tackling my stories, I should think! I highly recommend it :)

Marketing or Stupidity?

Last week my sister came over from work and told us about this thing she saw downtown where she lives. Apparently the public health and safety board was putting up notices that there was a siberian tiger roaming around downtown, and that people should be cautious and not go downtown at night. Yes, I know what you're thinking. I didn't believe it myself, and even she wasn't entirely sold. But she lives downtown, you know? There's some concern. But notices were all that was being put up, no announcements or anything. That was the first thing that screamed 'bogus!' to me. I figured it was someone pulling a stupid prank thinking it was funny. Then came Saturday, and in the paper was a section talking about this tiger downtown complete with an alleged picture caught of it that was claimed in the article to be authentic. I still wasn't convinced, something wasn't sounding right about it. Basically if this tiger was ever caught, then I'd believe it. Turns out I didn't have to wait that long.

In the local section of the paper there was an article talking about the tiger and that it was in fact all a hoax, and the other section that was included in this paper was in fact completely fabricated. No I wasn't surprised. Turns out the management of our city football team is trying to increase season ticket holders and attendance in general (since it's been dwindling for YEARS) with what they call viral or 'guerilla' marketing. This whole tiger thing was designed to get people talking, though no one's been able to explain just how this is supposed to be so positive. The spokesperson for the team claim there's been a lot of positive response, but all I've ever heard is from people who are pissed. And rightly so. The presence of a tiger is no laughing matter, that's a dangerous animal. A lot of people took this seriously. There is no public health and safety board (well there is a real one like it, but that's not the name of it) and the website is registered to the team head office. Were this some ordinary moron, the police would have been on that person's case in a flash. I think the same should apply here, because this was completely irresponsible especially for a company. Hiding under the 'this is marketing' excuse just doesn't cut it.

So what do you think? Marketing or stupidity?

Great Friday

I haven't had a really good day in a long time, so it was nice to have such a great Friday after a few funky days. Which always seems to get worse at night. Ever notice how anything not great (depression, flu, headache, etc) always seems to get worse at night?

Anyway, it started with a REALLY good dream concerning something Tessa and I had been discussing the days previous. Basically I was really troubled and down about something that she refused to allow me to give up on, and that dream seem to only illustrate what she was trying to tell me. Might sound silly but it really felt more than a dream and ever since then I've been re-motivated. Feels really nice :) That was followed by a pretty good walk with Dalila. Yeah we're still working on the walking thing, we have our good days and our bad days. Slept well all morning, got ready for my appointment at the clinic and for the first time I wasn't anxious at all. Not even jittery, which is really unheard of for me these days. Panic disorder makes life very hard, and even simple things like a short bus ride can completely set me off. Good moments like this kind of add to the hope that this isn't going to be forever. The appointment itself went really well, we came up with a lot of good ideas that are hopefully going to really help. You know something's right when you feel like you're right where you're supposed to be, and that's how I'm feeling here now. After two years of this I'm finally going to start getting better.

Despite the cold I stopped at Tim Horton's on the way home and grabbed myself an ice cap. It's usually hit or miss how well it gets made, I love it when it's really full. Which this one was, so that was nice. Nearly froze my hand off on the way home since I forgot my gloves (better than forgetting something important though!). Dalila handled the extra crate time well - no whining, no pacing and most importantly, no accidents. Huge bonus. Then I even got around to the task of gutting out my closet. I have a floor in there! And I found a whole bunch of stuff I had been looking for, including stuff I had forgotten about. Lots of crap to get rid of, and hopefully this time I won't bury my floor again. Feels nice to clean up these little corners, and it may sound weird but sometimes focusing on something else gets ideas going. I guess because you're not so focused on the writing, it's easier to see the forest for the trees as it were.
 

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