New Year’s Eve 2013

So this year definitely had its ups and downs. I faced challenges at my job, I faced challenges at school, I faced challenges with my writing, I faced challenges with my marriage, I faced challenges with my pregnancy, I faced challenges with my family, and I faced challenges with my friends. Most of all, I faced challenges in myself. Did I make mistakes? Yes. Do I regret them? No. Did I have to make some hard decisions this year? Yes. Some of them were very recent in fact. But 2013 is a year unique to all the years I have lived. It is the one year where I can look back and say, I am not ashamed. It is the one year where I feel I can stand tall and say, for all its bumps and steep climbs, 2013 is not a year I wish to forget. And that’s saying something, because this year had its share of painful memories. The worst of which came from back home, the place I’d been looking to as my sort of salvation from the isolation and adversity my husband and I have faced here in Georgia. Drama has splintered my family apart. Grave misunderstandings have estranged me to close friends.

…But you know what? I’m going to be a mother. And while I’m still grappling with the enormity of that responsibility, I find myself welcoming it, with open arms. All the challenges of 2014 will pale in comparison to the task of ushering in new life and raising it. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I look forward to it.

And 2014 will have its own joys too! I’ll be (finally) publishing the first full length novel of Eikasia to the ebook market. I’ll be graduating from my school, earning my bachelor’s degree, and seeking to start my new career. And for all its problems, I will be home, back with family where I belong.

So bring it on 2014. I’m ready for ya.

Tagged , , , , , ,

“You can’t do that! Stories have to be about White people”

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

Young Writers of Colour

byDarren Chetty

I’ve spent almost two decades teaching in English primary schools, which serve multiracial, multicultural, multifaith communities. I want to explore two things I have noticed.

1)    Almost without exception, whenever children are asked to write a story in school, children of colour will write a story featuring white characters with ‘traditional’ English names who speak English as a first language.

2)    Teachers do not discuss this phenomenon.

Furthermore, simply pointing these two things out can lead to some angry responses in my experience.

Why are you making an issue of race when children are colourblind?”

is an example of the sort of question that sometimes gets asked.

Well let’s look at that. If children were writing stories where the race of characters was varied and random, there might be some merit in claiming that children are colourblind. However, even proponents of racial colourblindness…

View original 1,265 more words

The Notebook and HIMYM’s Dobler-Dahmer Theory

Okay…OKAY. So I just started watching The Notebook. I had to pause it JUST to type this because this scene was ridiculous to me:

I mean, I  realize that McAdams character gets her revenge by pantsing Gosling’s character, but this scene immediately made me think of How I Met Your Mother’s Dobler-Dahmer Theory:

For me? The Notebook’s “big romantic gesture” was straight into Dahmer territory.

As hot as Ryan Gosling is, if some guy persistently pestered me, then coerced acceptance through fear, I’d either kick him in the nuts or get the authorities.

Fine, fine. I hate party poopers like the rest of you. I can engage in a bit of suspension of disbelief. This is a romantic film, and we know that these two characters will inevitably get together.

But Rachel McAdams character tells Gosling’s character “NO” pretty clearly several times, and he proceeds to continuously invade her space, then manipulate her through bullshit antics. I guess as an audience we’re supposed to find this “roguish” behavior as charming. Yeah? Well when I was a kid I would’ve thought his persistence was romantic, now I just see it as menacing.

I guess I’ll keep watching this, but this isn’t a great start for what’s supposed to be such a huge cult movie…

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Beautiful Perseverance

(My 200th post!)

Today I posted the latest update for Eikasia (Chapter 41.3) and it made me think of something.

The beauty of perseverance.

I was down almost a thousand words until meeting my word count goal and I was in a funky mood this morning. I considered saying, “No, I won’t write today. I’ll do it some other day.” The lethargy pressed down on me hard, to the point that even sitting up and looking at my computer screen seemed to take great effort. Negative thoughts ran rampant through my head. “You can’t do this. Your story’s quality is declining–not that it was that high to begin with. This update is boring.” What loomed over me was a big thick wall, and spray painted across it was the phrase: YOU CAN’T DO IT.

Then I just started typing. I ignored it all as best I could and just started typing. Did the feelings go away? No, actually. I felt like crap the entire time I typed. Almost unto the point of tears, even. But the point is, I got it done. After I read it to my husband and heard his input, I realized afterwards that this really WAS all just in my head, and there was nothing wrong with my update as a whole.

I’ve been very open on this blog about my struggles with depression-anxiety, and I’m proud to say that I’ve handled my pregnancy just fine, and haven’t had the need to resort to medications again since I kicked them to the curb October 2012. The thing is, while perhaps the degree of my sudden funk is not what most experience, to have a funk AT ALL is something I think everyone can relate to, especially with writing. I guess the point of this little post was to just say…if I can do it, so can you. Sometimes you just have to chew through it. Yes, even when it is really bad. What perpetuates depression is not depression, it’s our willingness to allow for it.

My husband’s been watching The Ultimate Fighter on DVD, and while I recognize that many of you aren’t into MMA fighting (or even despise it) I wanted to share this insightful bit of advice from fighter, Chael Sonnen. I think it can be applied in any person’s career, hobby, or lifestyle, including writing.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

December 2013 Update

I’m calling this the “December Update” but it probably won’t be the only one I do this month. In it, I talk mostly about the recent Eikasia update, as well as my career goals after graduation, and the lil’ old fact that my birthday is tomorrow. ;)

Fun Fact: After finishing the video, I got a call from my “Graduation Liason” (who was also my Financial Advisor once upon a time) and was informed that my graduation date was the same day that my baby son is estimated to be due! Another weird thing? My son’s due date is a day after my hubby’s birthday. So graduation, baby due, and husband’s birthday… The stars are aligned!!

Tagged , , , , , ,

November 2013 Update

So this is super late! I was supposed to post this here but I forgot. I talk about school a lot and the fact that I’m close to graduating my degree program. (Among other things)

Tagged , ,

Celebrating 5 Years of Epic Love and Magic!

Join me in celebrating five long years of Eikasia! Get the ebook Tooth and Nail for FREE at Smashwords when you use the code: ZG56K (not case sensitive).

Click here to get your free copy now. 

Share this deal with friends!

Tooth and Nail ebook cover

Offer valid till 9/30/13.

Tagged , , ,

Dear son, don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you

Originally posted on The Matt Walsh Blog:

***Update, August 1: In response to the thousands of people who, after reading this entire post, decided to harp on one single phrase (“I’m no feminist”), I wrote this. If you want to know how I can say all the things I say here, yet still reject “feminism,” click the link and I’ll explain. Otherwise, carry on. Thanks for stopping by.

Our country dangles on the precipice of starting a third World War. We are on the verge of a completely unnecessary conflict where the United States will fight along side Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This, in another day and age, might earn the crown as the Most Controversial Story of the Week. But we’re in the year 2013, and this is America, so a young pop star’s dance moves on an MTV awards show have predictably overshadowed the prospect of global chaos and bloodshed. I wrote…

View original 1,262 more words

Thoughts on Akumu Love Panic Ch. 13.4 (and the story in general)

Exported from Twitter by Storify.com:
  1. In the new #AkumuLovePanic update (which is finished at 2k words) we finally learn about Carlin’s past.
  2. The attention Carlin has received in this 2nd story arc doesn’t surprise me so much, as it just leaves me humbled #akumulovepanic
  3. I talk about this later, but what I mean is: Carlin’s backstory dominated this update, and I was embarrassed I hadn’t factored that into my outline. Chapter 13 was supposed to be done in 3-4 updates. Now it’s looking to be done in 4-6!
  4. In the 1st story arc for #AkumuLovePanic the story focused mostly on the plot, so the pacing was quicker. This was good and bad.
  5. Good in that the story was very focused and event-driven. Bad in that characters like Carlin are largely left unexplained. #akumulovepanic
  6. And Carlin was such a bewildering character too! I tried to keep her from getting too frustrating in my first round of edits #akumulovepanic
  1. If you thought Carlin was abrasive and confusing in the first story arc, you should’ve seen the rough drafts. In those, less about her was explained, and her actions really came across as someone who was crazy for the sake of being crazy. It’s maybe for this reason that I arranged for Amaya and Carlin to be stuck together in close quarters for an undetermined amount of time.
  2. But I think in my next edits, I’ll have to tone her down even more. Kiyomi and Usagi hardly get much attention too. #AkumuLovePanic
  1. That’s one of my lasting regrets from the first ALP story arc. While we at least get SOME details about Carlin and Haruko, we get virtually nothing about Kiyomi and Usagi. I’d originally intended for Usagi to be a much more prominent character, by way of her being with Amaya all the time for Equestrian Club. Her presence was supposed to be a gateway for Kiyomi, but the story ended up going a different way, resulting in neither of them having much explained in terms of who they really were or where they came from beyond surface details.
  2. Hindsight is 20/20. I would like the 1st arc to find that good balance for character and plot. #AkumuLovePanic
  3. Honestly, I prefer character-driven stories, and so maybe that’s why I’m enjoying the 2nd arc more. #akumulovepanic
  4. I really think the 2nd arc is much more character-driven. It’s true this may feel uneven or even at the expense of plot, but I feel less anxious about this somehow. Everyone is getting more attention: We finally get to see more of who Haruko is and where she lives, we see more of the awkward relationship between Amaya and her father, just recently we’re starting to get more details about Kento, for the first time we had a glimpse as to what Amaya’s mother is like, and of course we’re getting more about Amaya’s past. The only ones who haven’t been benefiting from this as much are Kiyomi, Usagi, and Oyama. We’re even going to be learning more about Hideaki and his mother Kishi in a few updates.
  5. I know the attention has mostly been on Carlin, and when I edit the story, maybe I’ll find a way to spread that out a bit #akumulovepanic
  6. In the next few updates I was actually hoping to shift some focus onto Kiyomi and Usagi (finally), and of course, Haruko #AkumuLovePanic
  7. Carlin’s attention has mostly been a situational accident (her hiding in Amaya’s room) #akumulovepanic
  8. This is what I mentioned earlier–arranging for Amaya and Carlin to be forced to deal with one another on a more intimate level.  I wanted the readers to understand Carlin, and recognize that Amaya’s view of her was skewed and lacking in information. Amaya isn’t a reliable narrator, and she even acknowledges this fact in-story. However, in order for the story’s perception of Carlin to change, I had to change Amaya’s view of her–thus the extreme situation.
  9. Some of you may have noticed her dialect has “lightened up.” This was purposeful. #AkumuLovePanic
  10. I’m talking about Carlin here.
  11. I was reading some older chapters and decided I HATED how her dialogue read. #AkumuLovePanic
  12. It sounded cartoony to me. Then I remembered some advice a teacher gave me a while ago #akumulovepanic
  13. “When giving a character a dialect, you need only suggest its existence for the reader–” #AkumuLovePanic
  14. “Once a form of speech has been established, the reader will recreate it in their head without need for constant prompting” #AkumuLovePanic
  15. One of the best advice I’ve ever received for my writing. I only wish I’d received it before starting to write ALP!
  16. So I started dialing back the contractions and instead focused on using the occasional slang and cadence of an Irishman #AkumuLovePanic
  17. I think it reads better. But this won’t be put in retroactively for a while now. I have other things that take precedent #AkumuLovePanic
  18. Senior year of college, editing Eikasia’s first market e-book, etc…
  19. Yeaaah…this new update took me by surprise. As I said, Carlin’s back story has humbled me. #AkumuLovePanic
  20. I didn’t realize how much attention it really deserved until I started typing it #AkumuLovePanic
  21. It was a nice reminder to respect my characters’ stories, a courtesy I’m eager to extend to Kiyomi and Usagi now! #akumulovepanic
  22. I realize that not all prominent characters need to have a complicated back story detailed to the reader to feel fully rounded. But like Eikasia, Akumu Love Panic has established a theme that time has a rippling effect, and the acts of yesterday affect the realities of today. In ALP this is especially true for Amaya, who struggles with her past of sexual abuse and the subsequent assault it ended in. It has shaped her greatly, and her past experiences are factored into many of her major decisions. With Carlin and Haruko, it is strongly suggested that their pasts have also greatly influenced who they are today. All that said, I feel it would be unfair to my characters to be blithe about their back story.
Tagged , , ,

Review: Kitty in the Underworld

Kitty in the Underworld
Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review is for the 12th book in the series, so I’m assuming those reading this are at least somewhat familiar with the setting and characters. Also, when you read this review, don’t stop at the first or second paragraph.

I have been reading the Kitty Norville series since high school. Kitty and her friends have become very dear to me as characters, and my loyalty to their story has allowed me to stick with the series through some of its doldrums. Since the eighth book (Kitty Goes to War) I’ve felt that the Norville series has been meandering, either pitting Kitty against underwhelming antagonists (such as in Kitty Steals the Show, and Kitty Rocks the House), an unfocused plot (such as in Kitty’s Big Trouble), weak conflict/resolution (Steals the Show, Rocks the House, and Big Trouble), and Kitty’s personality maybe slipping a little too much into the Yin (meaning her tendency to talk and question everything turns grating instead of humorous; again, Big Trouble…guess which book is my least favorite of the series?)

A lot of people feel disgruntled with the focus of the overarching plot going global, and in some cases, I’ve even heard that some folks are dissatisfied with the attention being entirely supernatural and less to do with the rest of the human world at large (one of the reasons House of Horrors is so popular in the series.) Honestly? I don’t fault Vaughn for keeping the focus on the supernatural. I like how she focuses on the supernatural in many ways. I would’ve become annoyed if suddenly these ancient beings who are, in some cases, thousands of years old, become suddenly threatened by some angry human mortals. Sure, there’s danger in numbers, but these ancient beings become ancient by creating vast networks and organizations that ensure their survival. They have years of wisdom on their side. In my opinion, someone of that nature who wants to take over the world is much more dangerous than a disorganized swarm of humans. House of Horrors illustrated how one small group could take down some supernaturals, but they were ultimately defeated, and like many upstart cells, they failed to rally more to their particular cause. Thus, it stands to reason given the story’s context that the biggest threat is not human. It’s supernatural. Period. This threat isn’t even purely vampire in origin, as the story eventually begins to suggest…

Never when reading any of these books did I find myself hating the series so much to quit it. As I’ve stated, I love the characters too much, and honestly Vaughn does a wonderful job exploring aspects of the fantasy/supernatural world in such a way that most authors don’t even consider, unless they’re trying to crack a joke. (like–do working vampires over 65 collect social security?) It’s things like that which keep me coming back. It shows a deep love for the genre, and I’m happy to say…

MY FAITH HAS BEEN REWARDED!

Kitty in the Underworld may start off a tad bit slow, but things quickly get intense when Kitty is suddenly kidnapped by a shadowy group of individuals. Later she learns these people are a cult, and they wish to recruit her for their fight against Roman. The problem? They won’t take no for an answer!

Despite the majority of the book taking place in a silver mine, things don’t feel slow or stuck. There is good momentum and escalation of conflict. The book gets almost cerebral as Kitty struggles to keep it together–physically, emotionally, and mentally–as she’s near-starved and dehydrated. The narrative lapses into Kitty talking about mythological stories, because the girl is given a lot of time to think don’cha know, and we come to see the parallels between these stories and Kitty’s plight. These portions are perhaps my favorite. Names take on a whole new meaning in this book, making Kitty ponder the power of identity and what her true role is in the fight against Roman. The stakes feel raised, and there’s a palpable tension as Kitty rails against her captors. The end of the book felt appropriately climactic, and I felt like Kitty finally makes some progress in finding a way to stop Roman.

This book was a delight to read, and I blasted through it in a day. I’m really looking forward to the next book, just as I always will be for this series–because Vaughn is a great writer, and Kitty is a wonderful character.

View all my reviews

Tagged , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers