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: and direct link to his post
Aheïla: and direct link to her post
AuburnAssassin: and direct link to her post
DavidZahir: and direct link to his post
IrishAnnie: and direct link to her post
Anarchicq: and direct link to her post
Proach: and direct link to her post
devero: and direct link to his post
hillaryjacques: and direct link to her post
LadyMage: and direct link to her post
M.R.J. Le Blanc: You are here
Fokker Aeroplanbau:
Amb The Creative:
Alpha Echo:

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)







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.


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!

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