"Welcome to Japan, folks. The local time is . . . tomorrow."
- from 30 Minutes Over Tokyo, The Simpsons, Season 10

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

SFR

Inspired from this post over at the SFR Brigade, I just wanted to take a moment to share my love of the SFR genre. This list will by no means be inclusive and hopefully I'll do another one in the future, but I just wanted to share some of the SFRs I've been reading. For those who may not know, SFR stands for science fiction romance. But note, I use it as an all-encompassing term for science fiction romance, romantic science fiction, and futuristic romance.

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Unmasked by C.J. Barry
Slave by Cheryl Brooks
Song of Scarabaeus and Children of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy
Darkscape: The Rebel Lord by R. Garland Gray
Born of Night, Born of Fire, Born of Ice, Born of Shadows, and Born of Silence by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Mad Dog Love (from Shifter anthology) by Angela Knight
Countdown by Michelle Maddox
Wired by Liz Maverick
Through a Crimson Veil by Patti O'Shea
Lord of the Dark Sun by Stobie Piel
Games of Command, Gabriel's Ghost, Shades of Dark, Hope's Folly, and Rebels and Lovers by Linnea Sinclair
Shielder by Catherine Sprangler

I have many more on my TBR pile. Next up is Shadower by Catherine Sprangler. Followed by the rest of the Grimspace series and Perdition by Ann Aguirre, the next League novel (whenever it's released/I can get it), Irreversible by Liz Maverick, Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair, and the multitude of SFR waiting on my Kindle app.

As I've said elsewhere, I wished I could've found SFR sooner so I could feel like I have to play catch up and so I could've read more of the books on my TBR pile by now.

If your looking for more SFR books to read or more about the genre itself, I'd recommend going to the SFR Brigade and The Galaxy Express.

Happy reading.

3 Years Later . . .

Hmm. So I knew I hadn't visited the blog in a while, I just didn't realize how long that "while" was. It kind of reminds me of a story idea I had where some tragedy happened, then the story picked up three years later. Maybe I can call it a zombie blog now? Zombies need love, too. Right? Anyway. Maybe I'll make good on the promise I made three years ago to have a regular schedule of blog posts. It'd still be a challange for me. But hopefully, I won't just ignore the blog for so long this time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Regular Schedule

This is a biggie for me.

One, we are three days into November, which means National Novel Writing Month. Again. Since starting in 2006, I have successfully completed a 50,000-word novel in the month of November a grand total of one time. That was back in 2006. I'd like to change that this year. Currently, I'm off to a good start. I hope to keep it up for the next 26 or so days.

Two, I'm still trying to revise my novel that I've trying to revise for way long than I should be trying to revise it. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I know that once I submit my novel to an agent and/or an editor there will still be more revisions. I understand this. I try to tell myself this on a regualr basis as a way to encourage me to get through my revisions faster. And yet, I can't seem to move on until I feel that what I'm working on is perfect right now. It may not be perfect later. In fact, it most likely won't be, especially not once I get an agent and/or editor involved. But for now, I need to make it as perfect as I can.

Three, in the realm of wanting to move from being an amature I-write-when-I-feel-like-it kind of person to I'm-a-professional, I want to create a blog schedule and stick to it. We'll see how that goes. Currently, I have one or two blog post ideas I'd like to write. I just need to decide if I want to post them somewhat together or if I want to try separating them into the first two posts of my new schedule.

So. Scheduling. So I know I should stick to a Monday to Friday schedule, even if I only pick one of those days and post. Why? Because most people read blogs during the week instead of on the weekend. Or if that's not when they're being read, that's at least when they're being written and posted on other blogs. I have a couple blogs I like to read during the week when I get the time, but with points one and two above, I don't always get time to read them. Add to that my two kids, one of which is still nursing, and I have even less time.

What I'd like to do is post every Sunday. I know that seems to be the least likely day to post on blogs, which is why I like that day. Because my kid doesn't only eat Monday through Friday, he needs to eat on the weekends too. So in that regard, I think it'd be nice to have a regualr update on Sunday for those who might be in a similar position as me. If nothing else, for those who only read blogs during the week, it'l be waiting Monday morning for them.

One other factor is that I tend to write blog posts when I'm thinking about them/ when I feel inspired rather than writing them at a specific time. One nice thing about having the iPad is that I can write notes in the Note program when I'm thinking about them, then copy and paste them to the blog at a set schedule. Or I can figure out how to post-date blog posts, so I can write it when I"m thinking about it, then set it to post at a later time. We'll see. I'll probably go with the first option since I'm a little more comfortable with it.

So.

I have a lot on my plate right now.

But I have a plan.

Let's hope I can make this work.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cosplay

Disclaimer: I've never cosplayed before. It's not that I don't want to, I just can't settle on a costume to make.

I was reading this post about cosplaying characters other than slave Leia and got to thinking.

For instance, I love cosplay but have never made a costume because I didn't know what to make. I was never interested in being another slave Leia, but didn't want to be a stormtrooper either.

But then I've always wanted to make a Sailor Moon/Jupiter costume and try to get my husband to be Tuxedo Mask. More specifically, I'd like to create a Princess Moon costume from the live action TV series just because I think that one looks the best. But since I have brown hair like Sailor Jupiter and. My favorite color is green, I think it'd be easier to create an Eternal Sailor Jupiter costume. Especially since I got white boots needed for an Eternal costume on Dale after Halloween last year.

Or to do a Rukia/Ichigo combo. Since my husband has the "orange" hair.

Of course I was also considering playing one of the girls from Star Trek's Mirror Universe just because my husband picked up the pin for it while he was in Japan and I think it looks better than any of the other pins. So go figure.

It was brought up in the comments section that girls dress up as slave Leia or other outfits that focus n sex appeal to help acquire a mate. It's probably true. I was just never one of them. (What with not cosplaying and not going to a convention until after I was married and all.) in fact, I think I'm the opposite of these mate baiters.

Before I got married, I dressed fairly conservatively. It wasn't until after I got married that I started wearing shorter skirts, lower cut tops, etc.. One, I wanted to show off for my husband, who wanted to show off to everyone, basically saying, look how hot my wife is, aren't you jealous. And two, I was just more comfortable in my own body.

But then I always admired the girls who dressed as slave Leia, because I could never do that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Mind of a Child

The mind of a child has to be a truly alien thing.

Take for instance my older son. His younger brother has recently started eating infant cereal. We've given it to him a couple times, sometimes he can't seem to get enough of it (like when my husband feeds him) and other time he wants nothing to do with it (like when I feed him ). So when we got home from our walk today, I set the youngest on the floor so i could take care of some stuff in another room. While I was out, I heard my oldest giggling, so I thought nothing of it.

When I got back, there were cereal flakes everywhere. It was like it had snowed in that one section of the living room. The floor had enough flakes for our son to draw in. The blanket the baby was laying on was covered in flakes. So was the baby. And after picking up the baby, I was covered in cereal flakes too.

The oldest had this big smile on his face, showed me the box of cereal, and might've even said, "Baby more," which is his way of saying the baby's hungry and wants to eat. He just didn't understand why mommy got so upset when he was trying to be helpful.

While in college, my husband studied psychology and one of the things they talked about was how up until a certain age, the right hemisphere and left hemisphere of the brain don't communicate with each other. And I was like, well, what does that mean? The best he could describe it was that children will do stuff without knowing why.

Like if our oldest son had better communication skills, I could ask him why he poured cereal all over the floor. He'd probably tell me, I don't know. And he truly wouldn't know.

Since my husband told me about this, I wondered what it would be like to live this way. Sure, there are those rare adults that either by some genetic defect or brain damage, the right and left hemispheres of their brains don't communicate with each other.

But what would it be like if a whole society maintained this disconnect into maturity? How would their society be different than ours? And, more importantly, how would it be similar?

It's one of the reasons I like writing speculative fiction. You can take something from the real world like this, and see how a fictional society would change with it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

To My Kitty

Dear Kitty:

I do not like your house guests, kitty cat.
I do not.
I do not like them of the flying variety.
Nor of the crawling variety.
I do not like it when they land on my head.
Now I need a shower, yes I do.
I do not like it when they poop on my pillow.
Now I need to wash it, yes I do.
I do not care if you're stuck in the bathroom
while I get your guests to leave.
I do not.

Say, I do like it when your house guests return home.
Yes, I do.

Kitty, kitty when will you learn
I do not like your house guests anywhere?
Not in my living room.
Not in my dining room.
Not in my hallway.
Not in my kitchen.
I do not like them anywhere.

Perched on a box.
Flying above my head.
Stuck in my hair.
I do no like them anywhere.

Kitty, kitty
I do not care
How much you meow.
How much you beg,
Plead,
Yowl.
I will not let you out of the bathroom
Till your guest is safe at last.

Say, kitty cat
I do like it when your house guests
Can be caught.
Can go home.
Can be free.

***

Sorry, I read Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham to my two-year-old yesterday, so it's been stuck in my head.

It doesn't help that my kitty's had such a fondness for bringing in house guests lately. The most recent being a bat last night and another bird this morning.

This years totals include:
3 bats
6 birds - 4 nestlings, 1 fledgling, 1 adult
2 chipmunks
2 rabbits

I think these last two were brought in because the heat wave we were having finally broke. He brought in a chipmunk last Sunday morning. (Which made me forget to grab my friend's son's birthday present. That wasn't a big because we just got him his first d20 as a stand in gift.) Then we had such a high heat index with it being up in the 100s to 110s (I can't say for certain since I didn't pay that close attention) that our kitty lounged in the air conditioning with the rest of us. Last night was his first chance to get back outside.

I love my kitty.

I just wish he didn't have such a fondness for bringing in guests.

And I know at one point I told my husband it wouldn't be so bad if our kitty ate some of the animals he caught, but I think I've changed my stance on that too. Especially when we got back from the drive-in and had to mop our floor.

Of course in the middle of mopping the floor and trying not to throw up from the blood, I thought of my vampire novel where Ayako finds her first dead body in the lounge car. In the original draft I had it that she didn't throw up. After all, it's just a dead body, right? And since she was a biology student, she had her share of dead bodies she needed to dissect.

Then I was mopping up the blood.

This was after my husband told me not to look, that he would throw away the parts. All I needed to do was mop the floor.

And maybe it has something to do with the fact that it was once a cute bunny that now had it's entrails strewn about my dining room floor (at least the kitty ate in the right room and didn't take his dinner onto the carpet or hide it in the basement), but yeah, now I just need to think about all the little details of that night to conjure up that same reaction.

When looking at the body, I had Ayako think of it as a painting. And to an extent, it is a work of morbid art. But then, I was thinking, you know, if I can get this sick to my stomach over one little bunny, how is Ayako gonna react to a human? Yeah, about the only thing she has going for her is that she doesn't have to worry about cleaning up the mess.

So, yes kitty, thank you for giving me those experiences to make my writing more realistic.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

This is cross-posted from the Den of Shadows message board.

Going through old college papers, my husband found the first short story I wrote for my first creative writing class. The most surprising part is that, eight years later, I don't think it's that's bad.

It's also based on the first ever D&D game I played. So these last few days have been a trip down memory lane as I've been trying to collect all the stuff I had written about this character and getting it in one location. Like I'll find one of the many character sheets I had for her and go, wow, I never knew she had that. Or why was she obsessed with this black crystal ball? And the list goes on.

For a while now I've been thinking about turning her story into a novel. And I remember a lot of crazy stuff happening in the campaign, but looking over her character sheets and reading old story notes, character goals, and equipment lists, it's a lot more random than I remember. But, unlike a lot of other characters I created for role-playing games, this one actually underwent a character arc which I highlighted in the short story I wrote about her.

So it's been fun. But now I'm also just little obsessed with finding all the game notes, story notes, and character sheets for her. Which is kind of like an adventure unto itself when this box has some papers, that box has other papers, this notebook has some notes interspersed with math and biology notes, that notebook has a list of this one character's many alternate personas, each with their own goals and such, and that crate burried in the basement has multiple versions of her character sheet.

[Sometime later.]

I found more story notes, campaign notes, and character notes for the aforementioned obsession and it's like one giant puzzle, trying to piece everything together. It's also quite fun.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What I Like About YA

This post is cross-posted from the Romance Divas message board.

I like reading and writing YA. I think mostly it's because there wasn't a huge YA market when I was a YA so I didn't really get into reading them until I was in late high school/college. One of the reasons I like reading YA is because the pacing seems to be much faster. In high school I read a lot of historical romances and high fantasy and the pacing in those books started to seem really slow to me. I wanted to get to the "story" (or perhaps action is a better word) rather than slogging through pages of description and history. I know a lot of people really like that kind of stuff, but I just got really sick of it.

So when my friend lent me Christopher Pike's Last Vampire series (recently repackaged/retitled as Thirst), I couldn't put it down. It was the first vampire novel I read, probably the first YA novel I read, and I wanted more. Sometime in college I found Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' novels and have been a fan of hers ever since.

Occasionally, I like to read adult novels, but for a while I only liked reading about characters my age. One of the first adult novels I read outside of the historical romance Nd high fantasy I read in high school and the YA I started reading in college was Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong. I was instantly hooked because the main character was 23, which happened to be how old I was at the time.

Now I'm not as picky about character age so much as my experiences while I was the main character's age. Like I can't get into most of the books about 30-something's who are still looking for love because I got married when I was 20. But I can relate to all the teen girls who are obsessing over their souk mates in YA fiction. There are times when I make exceptions, but mostly it'll be because I want to read about a certain type of character or I'm looking for books that are somewhat similar to my WIP. Also, most of the time a great character and a fast-paced plot will trump character age/experience. One example being the Queen Betsy series by MaryJanice Davidson.

I also like to write YA because I think that's the time where people go through the most changes in life. Especially at the age of 17 (which most of my characters happen to be), you're writing about someone who is practically an adult, wants to be an adult, but has none of the responsibilities of being an adult or even fully aware of what it means to be an adult. There's something about that dynamic that I'm drawn to as a reader and as a writer.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reading as a Writer

This is cross-posted from the Absolute Write message board.

When I choose a book to read, I'll look for things like genre, type of main character (shapeshifter, spy, pirate, etc.), whether it's an author/series I've read before, and point of view.

While I'm reading a book for the first time, I hope to be engaged by the characters, their situation, and the world they inhabit that I don't notice little details. Afterwards though, I like to page through the book and/or think about what I read, sometimes even reread passages to get a feel for how the author handled things like chapter length, opening hook, major turning points, character backstory and description, whether each chapter ends with a hook or not, etc.. These are also the same things that can pull me out of a story while I'm reading it.

Some other things that can pull me out of a story are unbelievable character actions/reactions to a situation, especially when it contradicts with the character's backstory, too much and too closely repeating one or two details about the main character while not including other details about him/her, really short or really long chapters, especially when the really long chapters don't have any scene breaks, and when every chapter has to end with a hook.

Some of these things will make me not enjoy a book as much as I could have, while others will annoy me so much that it'll just take me a really long time to finish reading the book.

As a writer, I just try to incorporate the things I like into my fiction while avoiding the things I don't like. When I get stuck, or what to know how an author pulled off one of these techniques well, I try to analyze their work to see how they did it so I can try the same in my own writing. I think that's why it's important for authors to read non-fiction books about writing techniques and fiction books to see practical applications of that technique.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Holidays

Well, it's December 1st already. I can barely believe it.

Pretty soon Christmas will be here, then the New Year, then my second baby will be born.

Just this last week my husband and I were wrapping Christmas presents and I was commenting how my belly wasn't so big the last time I was pregnant and wrapping presents, when my baby was due in April and not February. I needed my husband to help cut the wrapping paper just because my belly was so big I couldn't reach the other side, and even leaning over as far as I could, I could only reach about the middle of the paper.

Something about wrapping presents just reminded us how close we are to having our second baby. When I got really sick with morning sickness this past summer, it seemed like it would never end. Now I'm 29 weeks along. It's kind of exciting because my son was born at 37 1/2 weeks, so we'll see how close this one makes it to 40 weeks.

I didn't get much work done for NaNo this year. In fact, it was my worst year. But on the non-writing front, I made a lot of headway in cleaning my house. It's not perfect, but better than it's probably ever looked. Plus, my husband hung our stockings last night.

We also had Thanksgiving dinner for my husband's family at our place (which was the main reason to get all the cleaning done). Seeing all the tables and chairs crammed into the living room reminded me of holidays at my grandma's where there are so many people you can't see the floor. What can I say, I like the holidays. I'm just glad Thanksgiving's over and someone else is hosting Christmas.