Thursday, October 31, 2013

FSF: Erasing an Identity


It's time once again for Five Sentence Fiction!  The word for this week is ERASED.

To read the entire "Unchained" saga from the beginning, go to this PAGE.

Unchained
Chapter 52: Erasing an Identity

Source
“What does this mean for you?” Nara asked, her soft voice echoing through the still air of the Ylana’s darkened quarters.  Sleep now eluded them both, though this could hardly come as a shock given everything that had happened over the last few days.

The Rehani had deliberated over Ylana’s request for several hours, the issue at stake being more about timing rather than whether or not her people deserved to be helped, before coming to the decision that her home world would be their next destination.

“Searching for a way to stop the Kryllians has been my main focus for so long that I don’t know who I’ll be when it’s done,” Ylana confessed as she lay on her bunk, which now felt more comforting to her than the mattress she’d left behind in her old bedroom.  “It’s a bit like erasing an identity.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

From the Great Beyond Blog Hop!


As we approach Halloween, we also approach a fun blogging event.  Welcome to the From the Great Beyond Blog Hop!  Our hosts for this one are Tara Tyler, Roland Yeomans, Gwen Gardner, and Angela Brown.

How do you participate?  Well, here are the details!  As Roland explains:

on October 30 write a post about a famous deceased author or celebrity you'd like to contact in our seance!
 
Why did you choose? And what would you like to say?
 
We will haunt your blogs, reading about your choices, then the spirits will select winners to be announced on October 31.
 
The prizes will be frightfully good, including copies of our books and more! We hope you will join us for a ghostly good time!

There are so many great minds to choose from.  How does one decide?

In the end, I chose Carl Sagan.  He was a scientist, and author, and celebrity.  He dedicated his life to promoting a love of science to the general public.  He wanted people, no matter their situation in life, to foster a curiosity about the universe.

He had a way of putting things in perspective, of inspiring a sense of awe and wonder.  Here's an example of what I mean.

This image, taken by Voyager 1, shows Earth
from a distance of 6.4 billion km (4 billion miles).
The above image, which shows how tiny our planet truly is in the grand scheme of things, inspired Carl Sagan to say this:

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."

Wow.  Just . . . wow.  I've read this so many times, and it's never lost it's potency. No matter our differences, no matter our squabbles, they pale in comparison to the fact that we're human beings who share the same planet.  In the end, that which we share in common is more significant than that which separates us.  We are small, and fragile, and yet we're reaching beyond our world to learn more, to explore.

There are a number of questions I would love to ask Carl.  What do you think about the advances science is currently making?  How do you feel about the state of science literacy in America?  What changes would you like to see the humanity make in the long term when it comes to the way we treat our planet and one another?  What do you think we're doing right?  And I'd like to know more in general about his views on our place in the universe, particularly in regards to recent scientific discoveries.

And finally, I'd like to thank Carl for all the work he did, and the impact he had on the world around him.

Who would you like to speak to?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

School Pictures

My son Jude got his school pictures back today.  We got the photo CD, so we have full color, black and white, and sepia images.  Just thought I'd share them with you, because I think he's quite handsome.  

Both my boys are, of course.  Though I may be a tad biased.

Meanwhile, Lyle seems jealous that he didn't get any pictures.  Oh well.  That's the nature of sibling rivalry.




My Adventures in Pumpkin Carving

A quick note.  If you'd like to check out my post for the Game On Bloghop, click HERE!

So, I recall recently letting you all know that I intended to try my hand at a more complex pumpkin carving experience.  I did it, and three hours of hand crippling work later, I have my results.

I chose my pattern after stumbling across it HERE.  Yeah, I'm not a good enough artist to design one on my own.  Still, the stencil I used was sketched by hand, with pencil, by yours truly. 


Yes, I actually sketched this myself.  My art skills are non existent when it comes to 3D, and I screw up original pieces spectacularly.  Yet, when I have a 2D picture before me, I can recreate it reasonably well.

And yeah, I know I could have printed it out.  I would have too, but our printer is currently out of ink.  That in itself is a nightmare that I hope to remedy soon.




Above you can see the beginnings of the pattern transfer, and the completion of it.  This part took forever.  Then afterwards, I actually had to carve.  That wasn't easy either, because there were so many delicate lines!  Sometimes I had no clue which part of the pattern I was working on, and this can be problematic.

Still, I persevered and managed to complete my gargantuan carving project.  It's not perfect.  I can certainly see errors in it, but I'm proud of the result nonetheless.


Even so, I'm not sure I'll be trying something this in depth again.  It's so time consuming!  Though a year down the road, I might change my mind.  We'll see.

Feel free to tell me what you think!


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Game On Bloghop!


The fabulous Kyra Lennon is celebrating the release of the 2nd edition of Game On, complete with new covers, with a fun bloghop!

Click HERE to check out the details of the bloghop and to sign up!

The basic premise of this hop is simple.  Nevertheless, I'll leave it to Kyra to explain the basics.

Between October 28th and October 31st, I want to hear from you about your sporting crushes! Does David Beckham do it for you? What about swimming sensations Michael Phelps or Rebecca Adlington? When did you first notice your sporting crush, and what do you like best about them? Have you ever been lucky enough to see them in action?

First of all, I'm not the biggest sports fan in the world.  I do enjoy watching gymnastics though, but it's mainly because I wish I could move like those people do.  Still, I do get excited for the Olympics.  It's nice to see so many nations come together for some friendly competition, and we all cheer on our athletes.

Ever since the 2012 summer games in London, I've had a soft spot for Ryan Lochte.  He's cute, he has a nice voice, and he's a pretty fantastic swimmer.  I admire that level of talent and dedication.  That alone, though, may not have attracted my attention, if it wasn't for this kick ass video.


Let's face it.  Anyone who has a sense of humor enough to be in a video with Sir Patrick Stewart and Simon Pegg has to be cool.  And for me, a sense of humor is essential.

Oh, and a quick note to my husband.  In my eyes, you're still cuter and funnier than Ryan Lochte.  No need to worry.  I love you!

Who is your sporting crush?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Spooktoberfest: Subscribe


It's time for Spooktoberfest!  Thanks to Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests for hosting this fun event once again!

In case you don't already know what this event is and what the rules are, check one of their blogs for the details.

Image courtesy of Jackie.
Subscribe

The basement is lit only by a kerosene lamp on the workbench, the illumination pooling faintly on the damp floor.  The lighting for this film low, but as a filmmaker, I have to think about atmosphere.

Okay, the setting is cliché, but it can work.  Besides, the atmosphere, while important, isn’t my gimmick.  If I want to take my filmmaking to the next level, I must take risks.  You, my future audience, will appreciate the payoff. 

I will blow your mind.

You won’t see the usual unearthed skeletons or killer in a mask.  People expect it.

People who see me in real life would never expect me to make horror films.  I’m a petite teenage girl.  I dress in normal clothes.  No one would ever guess that I’m obsessed with creating scenes of death and dismemberment. 

I defy expectations.

My YouTube channel has 90,000 subscribers.  It takes dedication to accomplish this.  I’ve gone through buckets of fake blood, and I’ve spent countless hours testing spray paints to see which ones will produce a convincing metallic gleam on a wooden axe head.  And FYI, creating a realistic rust effect on a wooden surface is no easy task.

The front door closes with a distant click.  My actor is here.  I hope he’s up to par.  A shortage of acting talent has been a problem.  Some people are downright wretched at conveying the proper emotion.  Come on people!  You know what it’s like to be terrified, don’t you?  Emote!

The basement door opens, and Nathaniel descends the stairs.  The carpet on them is stained red and black from my endeavors.  “Hey Rachel.  First one here, huh?”

“Oh, no one else is coming.  You’re the star,” I reply sweetly.

He quirks an eyebrow.  “I thought you said . . .”  He stops when we hear the lock on the basement door slides into place.

Yes, our basement locks from the outside.  Thanks for that Mom.  You’re so supportive.

“Camera’s rolling.”  I gesture to the tripod where the red record light glows softly.  Then I retrieve the axe from the wall.  Light reflects off the surface as I lift it high.

“That looks real.”  Nathaniel’s voice is wavering.

“It is real,” I explain.  “You see, quality actors are rare, and setting up the scene is so tedious.”

His eyes go wide.  “Umm, I don’t think I can . . .”

“Show me you’re afraid for your life.”

Now he’s emoting!  Quivering lip, heavy breathing.  Nathaniel delivers a performance as he scurries for the stairs.

I catch him quickly.  One swing and the blade sinks into his skull with a dull crunch.  It sounds different from hacking into watermelons, which is how I practiced.  The splatter effect is similar, though.

The brain peeking out through the wound is the icing on the cake.  Beautiful.

A few flecks of blood dot my hands.  I’d better wash my hands so I can get to my computer.  I have a video to upload.

100,000 subscribers, here I come!



Celebrate the Small Things-October 25, 2013


It's Friday!  That means it's time to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

We have a car repair to do this weekend, but it looks like it may be relatively inexpensive and far faster than we imagined it would be.  Fingers crossed that it all goes according to plan!

Halloween is fast approaching, which is always something to be happy about. I'm enjoying all the Halloween ambiance everywhere I go.  The weather has become more fall-like now.  It even snowed earlier this week, but I'm celebrating the fact that the snow melted as soon as it hit the ground anyway.  I hope the ground is NOT snow covered for trick-or-treating!


Also, it's worth mentioning (and celebrating!) that Spooktoberfest starts today!  It's all about celebrating Halloween with flash fiction.  If you haven't yet signed up, you can visit either Jackie or Dani to check out the rules and sign up! I seriously recommend that you do.

What would you like to celebrate?


Thursday, October 24, 2013

FSF: Determination to Remedy


It's time once again for some Five Sentence Fiction.  The word for this week is DETERMINATION.

Those of you who have missed previous chapters in my ongoing FSF story can find it all on this PAGE.

Unchained
Chapter 51: Determination to Remedy

We hope to make amends for our mistakes, so we have been travelling across the galaxy, liberating any world that has been subjugated by the Kryllians, the Rehani leader explained.  It has been a long and slow process, but we have been impressed with the resilience of the races we have encountered along the way.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Ylana’s mind whirled as she struggled to process the undeniable wrong that the Rehani had done, their determination to make things right again, and what these facts could mean for the future of her home planet.  It was all too much, yet within the horror of the moment was resurrected a gleaming hope that things could in fact be made better.


“My race has been wronged time and again by the Kryllians, and it is only because of this woman” –Ylana pointed to Nara- “that I am here at all, so I need to make the most of this opportunity by asking you to please, please help my people.”  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FSF: Malicious Intent


I'm a little late this time around, but I'm taking the time now for some Five Sentence Fiction!  The prompt this week is MALICE.

Those of you who have not read the previous chapters of the ongoing "Unchained" saga may find the whole story HERE.

Unchained
Chapter 50: Malicious Intent

Image courtesy of
Victor Habbick/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Ylana held her fists tight against her sides, because she knew if she gave herself even an inch, she was likely to attack someone.  “This is all your fault?” she growled, her voice lower and more menacing than it had ever been.

The leader of the Rehani bowed its head slightly as it replied, You must understand, we were a young and foolish race when we embarked on this project, and we never imagined we would spend millennia struggling to contain and remedy our mistakes.

Can there ever be a remedy for this? Ylana wondered as she shot a look to Nara, who appeared just as stunned and sickened as she felt.

The truth was indeed an ugly one: the Kryllians were genetically engineered by the Rehani to be soldiers, and they were made to reproduce with the destructive sludge because the necessity of a host species gave the Kryllians all the incentive they needed to conquer.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Express Yourself: Trick-or-Treat Candy


The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is made possible by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

This week's prompt is: Which Halloween candy were you most excited to see in your Trick-or-Treat bag (kids bags count)?

Mmm.  Candy.  As an adult, I still look forward to Halloween for the candy, even though I now have to purchase it to get any.  Aside from the pieces of candy my kids are too young to eat on their own, of course.

I'd have to say chocolate accounts for the bulk of my favorite Halloween candies.  I love Reese's Penatur Butter Cups, Snickers bars, and things of that nature.  Chocolate is always okay in my book.

I also enjoy candy corn.  Maybe part of that is due to the tradition of it.  It's just a natural part of Halloween for me.

What's your favorite Halloween candy?


Friday, October 18, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things-October 18, 2013


It's Friday!  That means it's time to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

I'm currently enjoying a fresh cup of coffee, which is always an excellent way to work on a blog post.

My dad got me an electric tea kettle for my birthday last week, so now I can easily enjoy cups of tea whenever I want.  Woohoo!

Halloween is fast approaching, which means I need to start planning things like costumes and pumpkin carving patterns.  I'm looking forward to this, because it's always fun!  Lots of people are more on the ball about this than we are, but life has been demanding we focus on other things the last couple of weeks.  

I'm thinking of carving a rather ambitious pumpkin this year.  If it turns out well, I'll post a picture of it for all of you within the next couple of weeks.  If no such picture surfaces, you'll know it was an unmitigated disaster.  Either way, it'll be entertaining!

What would you like to celebrate?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The ABCs of Writing: B is for Balance


I know I'm posting this a little late in the day, but it's still Wednesday, so it works.

Here is my second post for the ABCs of Writing.  You can find the first one, A is for Audience, by following the link.

B is for Balance

I’ve heard people say that as a writer, one must be adept at balancing the demands of writing and everyday life.  You know the routine.

-Make breakfast
-Make lunch
-Make dinner
-Laundry
-Take kid(s) to school
-Dishes
-Vacuuming

Then there are the demands of writing.  The inspirations that hit you full force when you don’t have the spare time to nurture them properly.  The effort that goes into developing a world with rich characters.  Pounding out that rough draft that you know will soon have you pulling your hair out as you begin editing.

Oh, and you also need to sleep at some point.  At least in theory.

When I sit down to write, I find my mind wondering to the things that I didn’t get done elsewhere (you mean I have to fold the laundry too?), or occasionally blanking out because I somehow didn’t budget enough sleep the night before.

Oh, wait, there’s no “somehow” about it.  I know why I didn’t get enough sleep last night.  Sick kids don’t take care of themselves.  Or I simply wanted to talk to my husband when he gets home from work at 1am.  Or stories were swirling about in my mind, driving sleep away from me.

It could be any of the above reasons, or more, that sleep isn’t always abundant.

Balance, balance, balance.  Where in the world can I find some balance?  Maybe I need to invest in a scale.

That reminds me.  I’m a Libra.  My sign is the scales.  Which I find funny, because my brain is often more imbalanced than a political primary.  (Not that I believe in astrology, because I don’t.  I can simply appreciate the humor in this analysis.)

As a writer, my brain is subject to the whims of creativity.  At best, I feel I can only cling to the spinning world of my life, accomplish what I can, do my best by the people in it, and hope I don’t get flung off without accomplishing something that I’m proud of.  Maybe if I can achieve that, it’ll mean that I led a balanced enough life.

In the meantime, a relaxing cup of tea may help slow things down for a bit.

Family.

Writing.

Life.

Don’t forget to breathe.  (Unless you’re standing too close to a skunk or sweaty socks, of course.  Then by all means, inhale wisely.)

R.E. Hargrave Relaunch


Today I'm helping R.E. Hargrave celebrate the relaunch of her books as self-published titles, all with new covers and tantalizingly low prices.  Have a look!
Sugar & Spice: Lacey Harrison has been dealt an unexpected hand in life: being a single mom. With her father's help and that of the residents at Royal Hills Nursing Home, she thrives and goes on to become a successful baker. She is content with her life but knows that she and her daughter Candy are missing something. Will things change for the better when Trent Childress moves into town and adds some spice to her sugar?  Sugar & Spice Kindle

Haunted Raine: Distracted by the everyday routine of raising children, being a wife, and keeping a home, Lorraine Morrissey let life pass her by. Her wakeup call comes when she realizes that with their children gone, her husband Richard is rarely home, and she’s filling her solitary days with trivial tasks. A crazy idea to save her marriage leads to a summer beach vacation unlike any she’s ever taken; one that involves unknowingly buying a haunted house. Haunted Raine Kindle


To Serve is Divine: When Jayden Masterson – a gentleman Dom with a taste for perfection – meets Catherine O’Chancey – a submissive with a mysterious past and a natural desire to submit – he can’t resist the spark that ignites inside him. He wants to learn everything about her – not just her body, but does she want the same? Can Catherine stand up to her past and find the right Dom who can make her feel alive again?


A Divine Life: A year has passed since Jayden Masterson collared his first submissive, Catherine O’Chancey. To celebrate, Jayden has orchestrated a special day for his jewel: one during which her final fantasies will be realized and his own inner strength tested. Are these two ready to move beyond just Master and submissive? Can they set aside their fears to tell each other the truth at last?
Createspace ADL  Paperback

The erotica novels have been enrolled in the Kindle MatchBook program, so for any reader that purchases the paperback, they can add the Kindle version for only 99 cents!
Paperbacks will be $13.49, novel ebooks will be $3.49

Novellas will be $1.49.

Now for the giveaway!



Author Bio:

R.E. Hargrave lives on the outskirts of Dallas, TX where she prides herself on being a domestic engineer. Married to her high school sweetheart, together they are raising three children from elementary age to college age. She is an avid reader, a sometimes quilter, and now, a writer. Other hobbies include gardening and a love of a music.
Her works include:
Sugar & Spice, a novella
Haunted Raine, a novella
To Serve is Divine, Book One of The Divine Trilogy
A Divine Life, Book Two of The Divine Trilogy
Author Links:
Blog  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Express Yourself: Halloween Costumes


The Express Yourself Weekly Meme is hosted by Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.

The prompt for this week is: What is your favorite Halloween costume ever (yes, you'd hadto have worn it)?

Image courtesy of samandale/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I think my favorite Halloween costume I've ever personally worn is the Grim Reaper costume I wore in 5th grade. That was my last year of trick-or-treating, and I looked quite creepy.  Of course, it might be more creepy that I had an all-out obsession with the Grim Reaper at that time.  Seriously, I drew multiple pictures of a cloaked figure approaching unsuspecting houses in the night.  Part of it was due to the fact that a cloaked figure was much easier for me to draw than a regular person, and I also thought he looked kind of badass.  I really didn't have an obsession with death as a lot of people might have thought.  I truly just like creepy things.

Anyway, I had a skeletal mask with holographic eyes, the long black cloak, and a scythe that my dad made with an old broom handle, some scrap wood, and spray paint.  I looked awesome!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Love and Adventure, Nerd Style



I am officially too much of a nerd for my own good.  Today I decided to write a poem in the style of "Roses are red/violets are blue . . ."  We all know that poem. Instead of making it a standard love poem though, I've littered it with science fiction references.  Yeah, I know.  I just couldn't help myself.

Anyway, you'll find references from Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, and Firefly.  It's basically a sampling of some of my favorite things.

Enjoy!

Love and Adventure, Nerd Style

The Dwarf is Red.
The TARDIS is blue.
Browncoats are cool,
and bowties are too.

The Force is imbalanced.
The Borg have arrived.
We must set course
for Babylon 5.

Corruption is strong.
Smegheads abound.
With Picard in the chair,
our odds are sound.

Bat’leths are sharp.
Light sabers are bright.
Beware the weeping angels
and Shadows in night.

The Reavers are waiting.
Serenity adrift.
Time is a luxury,
and love is a gift.

There’s no time to waste,
with a sky full of stars.
Get ready to fight
for what is ours.

Draw up a plan.
Aim for the rim.
We’ll fly beyond it,
all on our whim.

Set phasers to stun.
Get ready to go.
Let’s say to our dreams:
“Make it so.”

Celebrate the Small Things-October 11, 2013


It's Friday, so that means it's once again time to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

The weather here in Iowa is still freakishly good.  We're approaching mid-October, and I've been wearing shorts the last couple of days.  That doesn't happen around here.  I'll enjoy it while I can.

Today is my birthday, so that gives me something to celebrate as well.  I'm 28 now.  My husband keeps teasing me, reminding me of the fact that I'm nearing 30.  I just politely smile at him and remind him that isn't a wise thing for him to say if he wants to see his next birthday.  Hehe!  

Image courtesy of aopsan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I also thought I'd take this opportunity to give shout outs to other blogging friends who have things to celebrate.  Today is Nick Wilford's 2nd blogging anniversary.  Congratulations Nick!

Mina Lobo's 2nd blogging anniversary is also coming up next month.  To celebrate that, she's hosting the Resurrection Blogfest II.  It's easy and fun. All you need to do is resurrect an old post.  You don't have to write anything new.  Seriously.  She's that nice.  So head over to her blog and SIGN UP!  (I already have my post selected and scheduled.  Nearly a month ahead of time. Man, I'm a nerd.)


What would you like to celebrate?