Contest! Everyone Loves a Contest!

My first pimp-a-contest, and this one sounds like a lot of fun.

Dark Wyrm reads here on blogger is holding a great contest called Your First Time - and for clarification, your first time cracking open a fantasy/thriller/insert-your-genre-here book. This is me referring you to enter, so please let him know I referred you if you choose to enter. Which you really should, the prize sounds like a great book. It's going on my TBR list for sure. So go and enter already!

Revenge of the White Stuff

It really doesn't want to go away, does it? It snowed again last night, all the side streets that I can see from my window are white and I heard trucks going all night long. Mostly salt trucks, but there were some plows out too. A friend of mine didn't have to go in to school today, I remember those days. I lived for those days. It's still lightly snowing now, and there were some snow warnings about but it really doesn't look like we're going to get dumps of snow. Then again I could be wrong; Mother Nature is so fickle. At least I don't have to shovel it!

I remember one year it started snowing one evening, and we were living in a different place so it was likely three or four years ago. I'm a night owl so I was up late and slowly the snow just kept building and building and building. The snow drift in our little backyard was literally climbing up the back fence! I have some pictures of it somewhere on my computer. By morning it had gotten so high we couldn't open either the front or the back door! Well you could, but you really had to push. Needless to say no one was going anywhere that day, but shoveling out that stuff was tough. It wasn't the heavy packing snow, but any large amounts of snow hurt after awhile. Plus I wanted to get the driveway shoveled out so that when the large plow came through it wasn't a huge cleanup. What I wouldn't have given for a snowblower.

I think I'll play in the snow later. I haven't done some fun photography in awhile.

Coming and Going

Seems there's a few things coming and going aside from my muses. I really hate when they do that, by the way.

Monday we had quite a snowfall in my area. I wouldn't be surprised if it was nearly half a foot. I took some pictures which I'll post in a day or two. I felt bad for everyone who had to go out in that, but since I didn't have to go out in it I let myself enjoy it just a little. The next day went up a couple degrees and it all started melting. I wouldn't be surprised if the run-off from some of the balconies looked like a waterfall, I could hear it melting all day long. So I figured that was that. Mother Nature gave us our annual snowstorm (though this was mild compared to others) and that was the end of it. Well, not quite. Today we got yet another snowfall - not quite what was falling Monday but it was consistant and those beautiful big snowflakes that just lightly drift on the wind to the ground. I got some pictures of those too, it's my favourite kind of snowfall to watch.

The Dragon King seems to have hit another lull, and I'm having a hard time working out of it. Oftentimes with my stories I have a 'trigger' of some sort - a movie, a book, a song. And employing that trigger usually works pretty well in getting me back into the groove. For example if I want to work on Beautiful Nightmare all I have to do is put on Twilight (which doesn't work the way you're probably thinking - I'm not at all a fan of Twilight. And yes I have read the books. But it gets my competitive spirit going). I haven't yet been able to find anything that gets The Dragon King going in the same sort of way. I could really use one. I think what I may do (which sometimes also works) is scrap chapter 3 and just rewrite it. Sometimes a second go-around clears the clogs so to speak. Maybe I could force the muses back. I really need to tie them down or something.

Artistic Appreciations

I saw Cirque de Soliel's Alegria on t.v. last night. WOW is all I can say! I knew Cirque always puts on an amazing show, but I admit that was my first time actually watching them. Amazing doesn't even begin to cover it, what some of those people are able to do! I was trying to write while it was on - big mistake. You can't help but be entranced, and the music was just perfect. If someone could get me that music or soundtrack, I'd love you forever :) I still have the finale playing in my head.

I managed to belt out another chapter last night, not quite 5k words but it was 2:30am by the time I ended the chapter, my eyes were literally shutting at the computer and damnit it was close enough. The end got a little awkward and weird but I'll fix it some other time. Not my best introduction of the two main characters, although the setting really worked. It was just the dialogue I crumbled on. Onward and upward. I'm really loving how easily writing's coming to me again, maybe I'll be able to belt out The Dragon King before Dalila comes home at this rate. Still need to get my hands on a damn black ink cartridge! I could edit it on the computer, but that first edit on hard copy is far easier in many respects. Plus Path of the Hunter has some continuity errors and a missing scene - that's a lot easier to fix off the computer than on. I guess in the meantime I could always write the plot points on index cards, tape them up on the wall with the worldbuilding stuff and organize it from there. It gives my walls purpose until I redecorate :)

Gackt updated his blog today (well yesterday in Japan) excited about finally reaching the end of editing the RRII DVD, which made me excited because I have it waiting on preorder. It's always fun for me to read about someone's journey to completing something they've worked so hard on, it gives you a greater appreciation for the finished product. It does for me, anyway. And he and his team have been putting in a lot of effort into making the DVD as good as it could possibly be even to the point of sacrificing many many nights of sleep. Those are troopers. You have to be built for that, because I know me I simply don't function once I've hit that point of exhaustion. Kudos to those who can, because I think we've all at some point wished we didn't have to sleep or had more hours in the day to work on a project. But this, this is one of the main reasons why I love reading his blog (thanks to uranus_sama @ Livejournal for taking the time and effort to translate):

It's something that each respective person has.
Time that is, at best, limited.
Lives that will run out someday.
Even if you do nothing your whole life, your light will go out someday.
And if that's the case, then isnt it best to decide on your own for yourself how you want it to burn
and try and light up your surroundings so they're more radiant than anyone else's?
I think so.

The Culling of Stratholme - My Version

The Culling of Stratholme is an event in Warcraft history where Prince Arthas (as he was descending into madness) declared that the people of Stratholme had to be killed as they were infected with a dangerous plague. It was an attempt to preserve the rest of his kingdom of Lordaeron - didn't work, by the way. It was madness mostly because Arthas refused to try and find another way, refused to listen to his mentor Uther and disbanded every paladin from service to the crown. Really, getting the chance to off Arthas now is a good thing :)

My version isn't so drastic and has much more positive results, as my 'kingdom' will come out better instead of worse. I'm usually a go-with-the-flow type of person, at least in some respects. If I feel the need to sit and write, I write. If I feel like five hours of WoW, I play WoW. If I feel the need to do some cleaning, off I go. And that's exactly what I've been doing. Last night I tackled the linen closet, removed all the crap out of there and found some toys I had bought for Mirage that I hadn't yet given her. Bonus! No more shoveling stuff around just to get at other stuff. Today I tackled several cupboards in the kitchen and cleaned it up, and emptied the fridge of all the stuff that needed to go. And despite the very stiff back I'm dealing with now (at least there's no pain) I feel really good. It's extremely theraputic! It's like I just removed a huge weight from my life and things are a little nicer as a result. Now if I lived closer to a dumpster, I could get rid of the garbage bags now. All in due time of course. Like maybe next week when I fully recover :D Tomorrow I'm going to tackle the rest of the kitchen, then my bookshelf and then that last peak - my closet! That'll feel REALLY nice.

Wednesday night we went for visit number 2 with the breeder. The puppies are now 5 and 6 weeks old, respectively. Unfortunately one of the three girls isn't doing so well. She's not developing as quickly as her sisters and brother are which is worrisome. Hopefully she's all right. It's funny how the time just flew by when we were there, I think it was at least an hour and a half hehe. The three 5 week olds aren't very good on their feet, they kind of stumble around but that's typical. The 6 week old is much better, but tile floors are a challenge for any pup. They were fairly playful, a little shy but the world is still all big and new to them. We go back again in another two weeks, when the pups will be bigger. Oh I can't wait. Hopefully we'll also have an idea of who's coming home with us. Five weeks is still a little too early to tell, but I've read that puppies and dogs can recognize a returning scent, so when we go back I'm sure the pups will be less shy and more like the breeder's older dogs. There isn't a single adult dog who doesn't love a visitor.

The end of the Path

Early this morning, Path of the Hunter finally came to an end. It's finished, closing in at just over 93k (total's on the right bar there) which is almost 7k less than I had anticipated. That's okay though, 100k was an average ballpark number. I would have gotten a little worried if it was heading into 110k and still not finished, lol

While I was printing it out (which I couldn't finish, btw - my inks died) I got to thinking about the past couple years since I start researching the publishing industry - and what kind of trouble I could have gotten into. As much as I'd like to think that I'd be smart enough to avoid scammers, it's easy for me to say that I would right now. I know better. I know the warning signs, I know who the vermin in the industry are and I know that experience and a track record trump all. But when I started POTH I didn't know squat in comparison. It would have been very likely that I might have actually fallen for one of those scams or thought someone inexperienced was really going to do something for me, and end up with a story I can't do anything with. Not to mention I very likely would have been rejected by every agent and publisher on the planet at the same time because I didn't know squat about query letters either :P For a long time I hated that there was that three year gap between NaNo '06 when I first wrote it and these past several weeks when I actually went back to it and finished it, but now I'm grateful. Because I didn't have anything worth querying but wanted desperately to be published the only thing I was really left with was researching. I ended up being spared learning a lot of things the hard way (as is usually my way) thanks to all that research I ended up doing. Now I don't know everything, and I'd never say that, but now that I do have a finished manuscript I think I can safely say I'll be able to at least give it a good shot to agents and publishers. At the very least, my editing skills will definitely improve :D I'm trying not to focus on the querying part too much right now, but I feel really good about it. And enjoyed the chocolates I treated myself to.

I'm feeling really 'wow, it's really over' though. Kind of like I don't know what to do with myself. Well, I know what I should be doing, the enthusiasm just isn't there. I could easily push into another story, but I was actually pretty productive today in the absense of my writing drive. Most importantly I got my balcony tidied up, we have a fire inspection coming up. Plus it'll be easier to get all of that crap out now. This year we're decking out the balcony for sure - outdoor carpet, plants, a little bistro set and a couple of wind chimes. Tomorrow night we go back to visit the breeder and see the babies. Hopefully pictures will come!

Back In The Saddle (Metaphorically Speaking)

TGIF! And what a pretty good Friday it is.

My anxiety is mostly down these days, which I'm thankful for. Life's a lot easier to get through when you're not absorbed by it. I'm not tired anymore, not physically weak, and aside from a slight dizziness (which may be from the cleaning I was doing earlier) I feel a lot more normal.

Path of the Hunter is winding down, finally. The major conflict is about to end with a character death (wouldn't you like to know who ;) ) and then I can move on to the epilogue-ish final few thousand. I say epilogue-ish because it kind of has that feel, but it's essential to the story as it sort of winds up all the loose ends. I guess it's because there'll be a rather large time gap between this part I'm finishing up and the end of the book, that makes it feel like it's more of an epilogue. It'll be nice to finally bring this story to a close after three years of lounging around on my harddrive. May not be the first thing I sell, but I'll be damned if this becomes a trunk novel. I already wrote that one ;) The Dragon King will likely be next. The characters have been chatting to me again which was both good and bad - good, because it's been far too long since I got so excited about a story and managed to ignore that pesky inner editor long enough to get dialogue down. Wow did it feel good to write like that again! The only bad thing was I couldn't get to the computer and turn it on fast enough! Must keep the notebook nearby next time.

And last but not least, let the Olympics begin! I wasn't sure I was going to get into it this year, I usually don't. I catch some of the opening ceremonies, and periodically check the highlights of who's winning medals and leave it at that. Beijing's opening ceremonies were spectacular I thought, it kept me watching after the parade of countries entered the stadium, but I think the Vancouver opening ceremonies outdid them. Not to disparge on Beijing's, because that WAS an amazing show! It was innovative and riveting and really set a high standard. But what they've doing here at the Vancouver ones...that's something. Makes me glad my desk faces the computer so I don't have to constantly turn around to watch! Enjoy everyone!

Music of the Moment: Olympics music - think they'll release a CD?

Time Flew By

It's funny how days can suddenly disappear and you have nothing to show for them, or at least it feels that way. I sort of fell off the good-eating wagon and reverted back to pre-New Year, and I think it was worse than the first time. I guess you get so used to being in a certain physical state that when you change it, then revert back, you feel it more the second time around. That or my body just really enjoyed being a little healthier, which I really can't blame it for. I'm going to get back into that better habit though, as puppy comes home in exactly 30 days from now. Well, perhaps not exactly 30 days, it would be more accurate to say she'll be ready to come home by then. Still have lots to do, and I want to have a set schedule already in place by the time she gets here. This'll already be a big shift to her, no need to shift it more by having to change my schedule at the same time. I'm still debating whether to have the crate in my room for the first three nights and then move it to the living room where it'll stay, or sleep out in the living room for her first three nights. Both have their pros and cons, I suppose it's just a matter of which cons outweigh the pros.

I've been absorbed in WoW again, another world event. It always happens, I get absorbed in the celebrations and I get lost for awhile. I like them because the rewards from accomplishing the seasonal quests give a huge boost to leveling, and anyone who's played an MMO like this one knows what a pain in the arse leveling can be after awhile. Plus for the most part the events are pretty fun. Right now the event going on is Love Is In The Air, and they improved it actually. Last year it was very simple, wear perfume or cologne and flirt with the guards, and you received various tokens to put together items for turning in. This year there's charm bracelets, all sorts of achievements and one of the most annoying daily quests Blizzard ever thought of. You either get a quest to spray perfume on 10 targets, or get 10 targets to sample some goodies. Targets can be either the guards and merchants in the city or players, but they should have been restricted to the computer characters. Nothing's more annoying than the stupid buff FINALLY disappearing only to get hit again by some other idiot. Other than that the event's much improved, and the much sought-after pet is much easier to acquire this year. Last year you had a 1 in 1000 chance of stumbling on him - this year you can buy him for 40 Love Tokens. Yay!

Time to force myself back into the writing grove. I have to stop letting myself get so disheartened by what's coming out. I used to have pretty good discipline in that I could just push ahead when things weren't coming out exactly as I wanted them to, and eventually words start coming that make me go 'whoa that was really good!'. Now it's like I lost that discipline and have to try and get it again. I don't generally make excuses for myself, but I think having the fog of depression (and sometimes lorazepam) is really a huge handicap. And even after all this time, I don't think I like admitting that. I don't like admitting there's something that I can't do something about on my own that makes it difficult for me to do the things I love. It can get scary, I've been at the point where I completely lose the desire to write and it feels like I've been robbed of something precious. Probably time for another trip to the doctor, or at least a phone call. In the meantime I'll just have to do my best. And get through this damn battle scene before I find a way to eliminate it lol

World of Warcraft Picspam

I really love this game, so I'm devoting this entry to it :)

I've been playing for four years now, a friend at college got me into it. She eventually dropped out of it, but I really got hooked. It's a real virtual world in the sense that things will sometimes change to reflect the passage of time. For example, the ruler of the human capital of Stormwind at the beginning of the game was young Anduin Wrynn, a boy barely ten years old whose father was missing. Highlord Bolvar Fordragon and Lady Katrana Prestor helped him rule. Now Anduin's father Varian has been found and restored to his throne, upon which now Lady Prestor no longer stands in the throne room. You'd have to read the comic series to really appreciate the reason why. Also when he returned Bolvar was relocated to Northrend, but now he's MIA. After the Wrathgate attack (one of many scripted ingame moments which plays like a movie when triggered) his body goes missing. The only one who knows for certain is the Dragonqueen, and she's not talking. My money is that he somehow survived the attack. Anyway, have a glimpse into Azeroth:

The throne room in Stormwind Keep. The actual throne was installed when Varian was restored.

One of my mages in the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus, the Night Elf capital.

Lianaria, who is one of my Death Knight characters, in the Stormwind Canal district. If you talk to the little girl in the flower shop and tell her you like flowers, she showers you with rose petals.

The results of an escort quest. The player has to escort the guy on the left to Uther's Tomb, in Sorrow Hill in the Plaguelands. The floating figure is the spirit of Uther the Lightbringer.

Best anyone ingame can figure, this is a pimp. This is Murder Row in Silvermoon City, and he'll stand there all night with the succubus minion but he disappears into one of the buildings during the day.

Arrrr, Pirate day in Booty Bay. We partied on top of the bank.

Winter Veil (Christmas) in Ironforge.

Elunirra, my highest level Alliance character. Here she's at the docks in Borean Tundra with Pengu, the pet penguin beside her. Looks a little demonic, doesn't he?

Kandreline, my highest level Horde character. I've been level-grinding her lately so that I can go to Northrend and see it from the Horde's side. Tirisfal Glades is so depressing.

Kandreline's venomhide raptor. I'm on a quest to train that little guy to be a mount.

Ups and Downs

Just once I'd love to have a day that's all Up and no Down :) But I can't complain too much, because the Downs are minor and within my control. Mostly.

Had a very good dream, and restful sleep. Yesterday I was ridiculously tired and not ENTIRELY sure why, but I just shrugged it off. Woke up to a beautifully sunny morning, and even though I block off the sun from my apartment I still like those clear sunny mornings. They give a good energy to the day (though I feel the same about a snowy morning or a good rain). Slept a little longer than I like, but when I walked out of my room I saw those brown envelopes that have become so familiar now. More packages! One was strictly Mom's stuff (two more bracelets filled with Pandora beads) and one was both mine and her's. Her component was a dragonfly pendant which is actually quite lovely. I'm not into dragonflies myself, at least not like my mom is, but it's a cute thing. My parts were a butterfly pendant and a beautiful set of obsidian prayer beads. I was excited about the prayer beads especially because I just fell in love with them when I first saw prayer beads and decided to start collecting some. They're bigger than I thought they'd be but I'm not complaining! I've got a couple more sets coming, and I'm going to start hanging them on the wall where my closet is. Start a 'collection wall' of sorts :) Got a good deal of writing done, I decided to skip the battle scene and get right to the end conflict so I can move on to the end of the story. The battle scene is just bugging the crap out of me way too much, I'll let it sit until something comes to mind. I've already had to change one dynamic, but I can fix that in the edit. All words are good, must remember that!

Now the downsides. Minor, like I said. The first one was as I was changing for bed, I was in the bathroom and managed to whack the top of my right hand on the towel bar. I bruise far too easily, so that'll probably be a nice big purple mark tomorrow. The second - my wisdom teeth. I still have them, never had the opportunity to get them pulled (think I'll put that on my goals list) so I've just been tolerating them. For the most part they haven't been TOO bad, I generally have a high pain tolerance and so I just ride the pain out, but sometimes even I hit my limit. When they move, they press against the rest of my teeth who have nowhere to go and it's awful pressure. They've been quiet for months and now they're moving again and I just have no patience this time around. The tylenol's kicking in now thankfully, it's dulled enough that I can tolerate it easily but I know this is going to go on for a few days at least. Le sigh. Thank goodness for tylenol and yogurt. I don't swallow tylenol whole, I have to crush it. Win-win though.

I'll post pictures a little later.

Happy February!

Because I lack an original title today :D

January wasn't too bad, goal-wise. I improved my eating habits, lost a bit of weight (not sure how much, I can't find the damn scale!), got back into a writing habit somewhat, and even managed to improve my sleep habits some. Definitely room for improvement of course, but I got a start on some of my goals, so that's a good thing.

Two more story ideas to add to the long list of story ideas. Thankfully though I have a lot of fleshing out to do in order to just get a plot out of them, so I won't really be troubled by them for awhile. One was spurred by an episode of Mantracker (I think) and one of the guys reminded me of the prince from The Last Unicorn and it got me to don't see much of what I dub as 'classic Fantasy' anymore. Mythical creatures, enchanted forests, wizards, medievalish culture, people who accept fantasy creatures as easily as they accept the presence of squirrels and deer, princes slaying dragons to prove their mettle and impress a princess. I watched that movie almost religiously as a kid, I miss those classic stories. So I'm going to try and bring back that nostalgia. I'm sure it's probably not a new attempt (in fact I'm certain it isn't) but then again what is, really. Sometimes nostalgia can be fun so long as it's done right. I wish Hollywood would keep that in mind when they remake things. I saw the television series remake of He-Man as well as the new movie, and both made me cry. The show RUINED the original He-Man! Adam went from a noble nice-guy prince to a spoiled teenager, I wanted to stab him. I hope the movie ends up a little better, the trailer didn't reveal much of anything to tell, but given Hollywood's track record I'm not optimistic. If they touch She-Ra I'm REALLY going to cry. Stop destroying my childhood!

I should really update all my wordbars to reflect what I've written so far. I've gotten to the battle in Path of the Hunter, but it's coming out really crappy. Granted it's my first battle scene but I think I've achieved the worst battle scene in history. Too many characters running around I think (or else I'm more out of practice than I thought!). Just have to keep telling myself Fix It Later. Like a mantra. I'm not THAT far from the end anyway, and I can worldbuild to my heart's content while Mirage is running around my room. I have the perfect wall to tape up my index cards and papers and pictures :D Of course if anything lands on the floor while she's out, that could get messy really fast. That would make a funny excuse though, wouldn't it?

"I'm sorry Mr/Ms/Mrs. Agent/Editor, my chinchilla ate my story."

Yeah I don't think anyone would buy it either, but it is pretty funny!

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