Friday, June 28, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things-June 28, 2013

It's Friday, and that means it's time to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit.

I didn't do a piece of flash fiction today, and I also missed out on posting last Friday, because these last two weeks have had a ton of things fall on Friday. Things I absolutely had to get done.  I won't bore you with the details (it's all mundane stuff, trust me), but I thought I'd at least do this post.  Even if it is a bit late at night for it.

I don't have anything particularly exciting to share, but I did buy a couple of new books over the course of the week.  That's always nice.

My husband and I also saw Man of Steel over the weekend.  I enjoyed seeing it, and it's always good to have a night out when you can.

What would you like to celebrate this week?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

FSF: A View of Everything

It's time for more Five Sentence Fiction.  The word that Lillie selected for this week is VIEW.

For those of you who have missed previous chapters of this story, you can find it from the beginning on this PAGE.

Chapter 37: A View of Everything

As it turned out, someone inside the house must have seen Ylana waiting out by the fence, because within a few minutes, during which time she kicked uselessly at the foreboding blades that barred her passage, a tiny man came ambling toward her.

He didn’t bother to ask who she was before he waved a hand, and the gate sprung open without a single touch.  “My name is Warberry,” the man, who only stood as tall as her hip, said amiably as he led her onto the property.

Ylana wondered why he had such a terrifying fence when he seemed to have no problem letting perfect strangers into his home, but she said nothing of it.

“I knew you were coming, and I know what you want,” he said, as if reading her mind, “because from this house, I have a perfect view of everything you could ever hope to know.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Weird and Wonderful Words

I decided today to share a few words with bizarre meanings.  Why?  I love weird words!  These words may never be useful in everyday life (unless you want to sound pretentious or pompous), though they could always come up in a crossword puzzle.

Ktenology-the science of putting people to death

Dactylion-the end of your middle finger

Biblioclasm-the act of ceremoniously destroying books

Hobbledehoy-an awkward youth/teenager

Petrichor-the smell of rain falling on dry earth

Mesonoxian-pertaining to midnight

Nudiustertian-the day before yesterday

Kakorrhaphiophobia-fear of failure

These are just a few of the crazy and interesting words that language has to offer. Would you like to share any obscure or unusual words that you particularly like?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Express Yourself: Music of Your WIP or Life

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

The question this week is: What band, singer, or group would be featured MOST in your WIP and/or life?

There are so many amazing bands out there that it's hard to choose.  Still, I'll make a short list of bands that stick out most in my mind.

The Beatles (because their music will be awesome forever)
Coldplay (for those quiet or romantic moments)
Dream Theater (because their music rocks)
Metallica (their music rocks too)

What bands would feature primarily in the soundtrack to your WIP or life?

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Thrill of It All Blogfest

Tara Tyler and Heather M. Gardner are co-hosting the Thrill of It All Blogfest to celebrate making it to publication!  That is certainly something worth celebrating!

How does this blogfest work?

On June 24th, share a big thrill.  It can be real or fiction.  Just keep your entries about a paragraph or so.

And there are prizes too!

1) A copy of MAGUIRE'S CORNER, ebook
2) An ARC copy of POP TRAVEL
3) A $20 Amazon GC
4) A banner or caricature by moi (or substitute if the winner has another need)

Here's my entry!

Vector Smoot didn't pay much attention in science class in high school.  Yet when he finds himself spontaneously teleporting after a group of four men tried to rob him at gunpoint, he wishes he could understand more about the science of what's happening to him.  And after teleporting the first time, he can't seem to stop.  He loses cohesion at the worst possible times, including in the middle of a conversation with the police about the bizarre robbery attempt he escaped.  Now, on top of worrying about how to control his teleportation lest he find himself randomly appearing in the middle of an ocean or inside an active volcano, the government is also after him.  Everyone wants to understand the mysterious Vector Smoot, but none so much as Vector himself.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

FSF: Blades

It's time for Five Sentence Fiction again!  The word Lillie chose for this week is BLADES.

To read the entire story from the beginning, go to this PAGE.

Chapter 36: Blades

The goggles of fate may have provided prophetic visions, and they even left Ylana a strong sense of where she needed to go to find the house from her vision that felt like a natural instinct, but they didn’t provide the while picture.
Image courtesy of anankkml

Ylana stood on a dusty road in the pink light of daybreak, and she saw the house in the distance.  The image from the goggles had certainly gotten the house right, but it had left out the fence surrounding the property, an unnerving structure composed of rusted blades that stood three times higher than the top of her head.  They were connected by barbed wire, and judging by the low level hum she could hear in the background of this early morning nightmare, the fence was electrified.

In spite of the rising panic Ylana felt, she had to focus first on the pragmatic question of how to make it from one side of the fence to the other without stabbing herself, electrocuting herself, or contracting some form of unpleasant disease from the dirty metal.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Deal With a Breakup

The prompt words I'm using today came from Little Gothic Horrors.  Those words are cheesecake and tripped.

For some reason, the word cheesecake put me immediately in mind of trying to nurse post-breakup wounds.  It's been a long time since I've had to recover from a breakup, but I do remember that cheesecake helps.

How to Deal With a Breakup

We all have those moments when we’re worn down and vulnerable, and those moments often end with us feeling humiliated by something we did while we were at our worst.  No one needs to deal with humiliation while nursing serious emotional wounds, so here is a little helpful advice.

Rule 1: Have a reliable friend come over to your house.  Tell that friend to keep you away from the phone at all costs.  You don’t want to make a fool of yourself.

Rule 2: Make sure you have a bottle of wine on hand.  Any alcohol will do, but at least with wine, the added sense of sophistication will help you feel somewhat better about yourself.

Rule 3: Don’t forget about desert.  Foods such as ice cream, cheesecake, and cookies will help to sooth frazzled nerves.

Rule 4: No matter how many glasses of wine you’ve had, or how many bowls of ice cream you’ve gone through, do not get it into your head that making milk shakes with wine instead of milk is a good idea.  Yes, you’ve been consuming them separately, but this does not confirm their compatibility.

Rule 5: Don’t only talk about your ex.  Yes, you need to vent, but you also need moments of levity to pick up your mood.  Try reminiscing with your friend about the time you both got drunk and tripped over the perfectly level sidewalk on the way to get misspelled tattoos, or about the time your friend helped you break into your house through your bedroom window only to discover that you actually did have your house key the entire time.

Rule 6: If something breaks, don’t try to fix it.  If you’re at the point of the evening where you’re breaking things, you are in no shape to fix them.  If you try, you’ll only break it worse.  Mend your broken heart and hangover before trying to fix anything else.

Rule 7: If you do slip up and do something humiliating, at least make sure your blood alcohol level is sufficient to erase the embarrassing memories.

Rule 8: Be sure you’re prepared to treat a pounding headache in the morning.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Express Yourself: Frequently Asked Questions

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

Here's the question of the week:  What are some questions you get asked time and time again?

1. Is that your natural hair color?  Yes, it is.  I know my particular shade of red may be uncommon, but it is indeed the hair color I was born with.  In fact, I've never dyed my hair, nor do I intend to.  I like my hair color the way it is.
2. Your son's name is Jude?  Did you name him after that Beatles song? Yes, we did.  My husband and I love the Beatles, and "Hey Jude" is one of our favorite songs.  That's the reason why we chose the name.  Also, Jude's middle name is Dyson, and I chose that one because I am a science fiction geek who likes Dyson spheres.
3. Lyle's nickname is Pepper?  How did that happen? My younger son Lyle was nicknamed before he was even born.  My father in law picked that as a nickname, and it stuck.  I guess since Jude has a name inspired by a song, Lyle needed a nickname that was inspired by a song.  (The song being "Pepper" by The Butthole Surfers.)
4. Why do you write science fiction? I love it.  What other reason do I need?
5. Do you have any idea how short you are? I find this question ridiculous, but people have seriously asked me this on more than one occasion.  Yes, I know I'm short.  I'm 5'2" in shoes.  I think.  To be honest, I don't measure myself because I hear you shrink with age.  I don't really feel the need to document my rate of shrinkage.
6. Do you want to have more kids? I hear this one a lot.  My answer is maybe.  I'm not sure when or if it will happen.  I don't plan on trying for a third kid yet, but I know if I unexpectedly got pregnant, we wouldn't be upset about it. I'm just not sure yet.  We'll see what life brings.

What questions do you hear time and again?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Musing About Voice

Today I'm struggling with my muse.  Have you ever had one of those days when you can't seem to find your writerly voice?  For whatever reason, whether it be stress or tiredness or simple distraction, I think all writer's struggle to hit their writing stride from time to time.

That's one of the reasons why I didn't post a philosophy post over the weekend. My mind was just dead.  For that reason, I'm going to combine my weekend philosophy post with my Monday meeting with my muse.  I'll reflect a little on the issue of voice.

Sometimes I read the works of authors I enjoy and admire, and I wonder how they put their stories on paper.  From time to time, I wish I could replicate their voice, or even just capture the confidence that comes through in their voice.

Still, while it may be wise to study the voice of our favorite authors so we can better understand how they use language to tell their stories, we shouldn't wish to replicate any one writer's voice exactly.

"A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here."
-Quentin Tarantino 

Part of telling that truth is being genuine in your voice.  The way you structure your sentences, the words you choose, are a reflection of who you are.  The parts of the story you emphasize, and the parts you gloss over, reveals a lot about you.  Putting yourself onto the page in that way keeps you excited and connected to your work.

"A voice is such a deep, personal reflection of character."
-Daniel Day-Lewis 

If you try to use a voice that is not your own, you will ultimately lose that connection with your work that each writer should have, and your work will suffer for it.  That's why I know that, even when I'm having a brief period of time when I struggle to find my voice, I can't give up.  As a writer, I have to be me.  Otherwise I might as well not do it at all.

So how do you make it past such difficulties when life weighs on you and makes expression difficult?  Keep trying, and believe that with a little effort, you'll hit your stride again.  It's only a matter of time and effort.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things-Week 22

It's Friday and time to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

This week I won a free autographed book from Lisa L. Regan, which is always welcome news!  

We went to a town celebration last weekend, and my youngest son Lyle got to ride a carousel for the first time.  I stood next to him to make sure he didn't fall off the horse, but he stayed on without any problems and he seemed to have a great time!  He looked so cute!

My husband and I went out to eat to celebrate our wedding anniversary, though our kids went along with us.  Oh well!  I enjoy outings with our children just as much as I enjoy solitary date nights.  They're just different kinds of fun.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is also the anniversary of the first time my husband asked me out.  That was eight years ago.  Wow.  Together for eight years.  Married for six.  And we still get along most of the time!  I love you Jamon!

What would you like to celebrate?

Dr. Mystery's Magical Gifts

Today I felt like writing a short, stand-alone piece.  I hope you don't mind.

Dr. Mystery’s Magical Gifts

The giant metallic object hummed as its spherical bulk rotated slowly in midair.  Little emerald lights danced across its surface.  Marcel had never expected that such an odd object could exist, so he certainly didn’t anticipate a delivery van with the words “Dr. Mystery’s Magical Gifts” painted across the side in luminous pink letters.

“What is it?” Marcel asked the tiny delivery man.  How someone who barely stood higher than his waist managed to successfully wrangle this massive object into his kitchen, he would never know.

The delivery man shrugged.  “Beats me.  That’s the point of Dr. Mystery.”  He reached into a pocket and pulled out a brochure, offering it to Marcel.  “Here.  Have a look.”

Marcel was shocked that the pink wording on the side of the truck matched the words on the pamphlet.  “Are you tired of shopping for the person who seems to have everything?  Are you tired of always choosing gifts that leave your loved ones dissatisfied?  Or are you simply unable to refrain from telling your family members what you bought them for Christmas?  Then call Dr. Mystery, and our trained associates will select a gift based upon the amount you are willing to pay.  You’ll never have to make any decisions about the kind of gift we send, nor will you know which gift was sent to that special someone until after delivery.”  Marcel looked up and laughed.  “The lazy man’s shopping strategy, in other words.  This looks expensive, though.  Who sent it?”

“It does indeed come from the top tier,” the delivery man replied.  “It’s the most expensive gift we have in stock, in fact.  The giver wished to remain anonymous, though.”

“What am I supposed to do with it if I don’t know what it is?” Marcel demanded.

“Oh, I’m supposed to give you this, too.”  He handed over a standard issue birthday card.

Marcel lazily flipped the card open and found a note printed inside.  “We hope your birthday is filled with surprises.  As one of those surprises, we present to you the MegaDrive 3000.  Contained inside is a million dollars in cash and twenty pounds of explosives.  The MegaDrive cannot be controlled by remote.  You must open it manually, which requires you to be standing next to the device.  There is a 90% chance that you will not trigger an explosion, and you will become rich.  There is, however, a 10% chance that the device will go off when you open it, and the resulting explosion will kill you, level your home, and potentially maim or kill anyone who lives nearby.  If you do not wish to take this chance, simply return the device to us.  No refunds will be granted.  If you wish to tempt fate, kindly allow the delivery personnel enough time to make it to safety before opening the MegaDrive 3000.”  Marcel looked up at the delivery man, all color gone from his face.  “This is a joke, right?”

“Oh, it’s no joke.  They’re very careful about the safety of their employees, sir.”  The delivery man smiled.  “So, it’s time for you to choose.  Are you going to send it back with me, or do you want to take a chance at becoming a millionaire?”

Thursday, June 13, 2013

FSF: Home of Nara's Final Hope

It's time for Five Sentence Fiction!  The word Lillie provided for this week is HOME.

If you haven't read previous installments of this serialized story, you can find the entire narrative on this PAGE.

Chapter 35: Home of Nara's Final Hope

The goggles of fate were surprisingly lightweight considering the revelatory power they supposedly contained.  Ylana settled them in place as she knelt beside Nara’s bed, one hand resting gently upon her ill friend’s arm.
Image courtesy of adamr

The images in front of her began to shimmer and shift, and little fragments of the world around her rearranged themselves to create something new.  Now she gazed upon a dilapidated little house that was nestled at the base of a towering hill.

She didn’t know where it was, but a sense of conviction rose up in Ylana’s chest, and she knew that this tiny little home, wherever it happened to be, was Nara’s final hope of survival.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Express Yourself: Movies

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

Here's this week's question:

What are the last two movies you saw?

I'll just go with the last two movies I saw in the theater, since those are the ones I can remember for sure.

My husband and I saw Star Trek Into Darkness two weeks ago, and we saw Warm Bodies for Valentine's Day.  I found both movies quite enjoyable, and that's what you hope for when you get a chance to go to the theater.

Most of the time when we're at home, we watch TV shows like Game of Thrones, Falling Skies, and other things along those lines.  If it's science fiction or fantasy, we'll give it a try.

What movies have you watched lately?

Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm a Winner!

I've been slacking a little in my blogging duties over the past week, but that's because life has just been . . . busy.  Nothing bad has happened.  It's just getting to be summertime, and my kids always want to be on the go outdoors.  I'll do the best I can to keep up with my regular posts, but if I disappear unexpectedly for a day or two, or if I simply post later than normal, that's why.

I'm still keeping in touch with my muse through all this craziness, so that's a positive thing.

Also, I'd like to share another positive thing!  I was selected as a winner for Lisa L. Regan's Aberration Blog Hop!  I won a signed paperback copy of her new book Aberration!  Yay!  I love getting new books!  Thanks to Lisa for offering this great prize!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Aberration Blog Hop

Lisa L. Regan is hosting a blog hop to celebrate the release of her second novel Aberration.  Here are the details.

Definition of ABERRATION
1 : the fact or an instance of deviating or being aberrant especially from a moral standard or normal state
2 : unsoundness or disorder of the mind
3 : an aberrant individual
— ab·er·ra·tion·al  adjective
From the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

All you have to do is list your top 5 choices for the most aberrant characters in fiction, television or movies.  Also, if you're a writer, you can then include a short paragraph about who you think is the most aberrant character from your own work.

All participants will be entered to win one of the following:

Amazon Gift Card $25.00
Amazon Gift Card $15.00
Amazon Gift Card $10.00
Signed copy of the paperback, Aberration (3 copies for giveaway)
Aberration the ebook (5 copies for giveaway)

Here are my choices.

1. Sylar from Heroes-He was dangerous, he was dark.  He would cut your head open to learn how your powers worked.  What isn't messed up about that?  Zachary Quino did a great job playing this warped character.
2. Dr. Thredson from American Horror Story: Asylum-He had messed up fantasies.  He kidnapped and skinned women.  Yuk!  This character was also played by Zachary Quinto.  Perhaps my choice of these two characters has a lot to do with his masterful acting.
3. May from May-She's a socially inept girl who ends up murdering people and taking the parts of their bodies that she likes to make a human-sized, rotting flesh doll.  Hey, she only wanted to have a friend who wouldn't turn on her.
4. Annie Wilkes from Misery-She's a writer's worst nightmare.  Crazed fans can be scary, and it's not an unrealistic scenario either.  Kathy Bates did a great job with this roll.
5. The Joker from The Dark Knight-He doesn't tell a consistent story about his past, so there's no hope of understanding him or what he'll do.  He's chaos.  Disorder.  Mayhem.  The unpredictability makes for a great aberrant character.

What are your favorite aberrant characters?

Celebrate the Small Things-Week 21

It's Friday!  Let's stop to Celebrate the Small Things with VikLit!

This week has been rather non-eventful, but that could be considered a good thing.  Nothing bad happened, at the very least.

I did get a lot of reading done, which is always worth celebrating!  I love to read.  As a writer, I couldn't hope to be successful in any way if I didn't love to read, now could I?

My husband and I celebrated six years of marriage last Sunday, though we couldn't actually do anything last weekend.  Our official celebration will be this weekend.

That's about all I have to share right now.  What would you like to celebrate?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Heroes and Villains

It's time for the Heroes & Villains Blogfest!  Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests are hosting this fun event.  Pop on over to either of their blogs to learn more.

Favorite Heroes:
Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)-Though he's rough on the surface, he has no problem with breaking the law, and he's less than tactful in many situations, he does live by a code of ethics.  When push comes to shove, he tries to do right by the people under his command, and he fights for the things he believes in.
Captain James Tiberius Kirk (Star Trek)-Kirk is a bit of a womanizer, and he doesn't think much of the rules, but he knows how to think quick on his feet to save the day.
Captain John Sheridan (Babylon 5)-Anyone who can end the Shadow War and take back Earth from a fascist regime is definitely hero worthy.  Plus he can make a great speech!

Wow.  I have a thing with captains, don't I?

Favorite Villains:
The Borg (Star Trek TNG and Voyager)-The Borg are persistent, adaptable, and quite creepy as far as adversaries go.  You definitely don't want to see them on your viewscreen.
Mr. Morden (Babylon 5)-He's a traitorous weasel, but he has a smile and a way about him that makes you love to hate him.
Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter)-In many ways, she was more hateful than Voldemort.  I can't even begin to say how much I wanted to see something awful happen to her.

Who are some of your favorite heroes and villains?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Strange Sighting

Last week I called on my readers to submit a noun and verb, or a prompt, to inspire a story.  I got a great response.  I couldn't use them all, but I selected the prompts of a few great bloggers.  I selected noun and verb pairs from Little Gothic Horrors, Timothy Brannan, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and randi lee.  I also used the prompt provided by writerlysam.

I tried to keep it short so it would be easy to read.  I hope you enjoy, because I tried to have a little fun with it!

Strange Sighting

The strangest experience of my life began with me sitting in front of my computer.  Night was falling.  I had the window open to let in the cool breeze.  It had been raining most of the day, leaving droplets of water glistening on the grass.  The pungent, earthy smell greeted my nostrils, enlivening my senses.

Those senses, also magnified by mega doses of coffee, sent my fingers into a frenzy.  I’d frequently written tales of rocket ships hurtling into the dark depths of space, and without fail I weaved narratives so bizarre that people close to me felt I couldn’t be entirely in my right mind.

I think they’re right about that, by the way.

Yet this frenzy of ideas seemed more intense than those that came before.  I envisioned an extraterrestrial race of wanders, meandering through the cosmos.  In the course of dodging a massive solar flare, these aliens damaged their ship and had to make an emergency landing on earth for repairs.

When I took a spare moment to glance out the window, I froze.  I didn’t expect to see them, considering “they” shouldn’t really exist.  They were supposed to be figments of my imagination, after all.  Yet there “they” were, right in front of my eyes, proving that either my assumptions about the universe were wrong, or that I’d accidentally ingested some kind of hallucinogenic   compound.  The aliens and their ship, just as I had envisioned them, were sitting in my backyard.  The ethereal glow and the soft background hum of the ship filled my senses now.

“Wow,” I muttered to myself.  “Either this is a strange coincidence and I’m about to make first contact, or I need to see a doctor.”  I paused as I considered my options.  “Or I could just keep writing.”

Deciding on the last option, I turn back to the keyboard.

*               *               *               *               *

I need more prompts for next week!  If you'd like to submit a noun and a verb, or an entire sentence to prompt my creativity, submit them in the comments!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: June 2013

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.  His co-hosting minions for this month are Sheena-kay Graham, Suzanne Furness, and Laura Eno.

This month, I'm not feeling an particular insecurities.  I mean, I still have the basic ones that crop up from time to time, but I think I've been keeping too busy lately for any of them to really bother me.  So I thought I would post a little inspiration for those of you who may be feeling particularly insecure this month.  Here are some quotes that 

“The enemy uses those things your insecure about. Free yourself and take your power back by being secure in who you are - flaws and all.” ― Yvonne Pierre

“Your insecurity is when you compare your polaroid with someone else's glamour shot.”― Brian Hooten

“Don't be afraid to write. I think a lot of writers of all ages have a fear that they aren't any good at writing. That fear is normal. I feel it. Most writers who care about what they are writing feel it. When you feel like you're not good enough, write anyway. It's just a pesky bug that's whispering lies. The best way to swat the bug is with your pen.” ― Tanya Anderson

"It's insecurity that is always chasing you and standing in the way of your dreams."-Vin Diesel  

"It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity."-Dag Hammarskjold 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Express Yourself: Everyday Foods

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

The question for this week is: What could you eat everyday and not grow tired of it?

Most foods will wear on you if you eat them too frequently, even if you love them.  Still, there are a few foods that would take me a long time to tire of, and I'll share them with you.

Stir Fry-I love Chinese food in general, and one thing I love about stir fry is the plethora of yummy vegetables.  I LOVE mega doses of vegetables.  The stir fry can also contain beef, pork, or chicken.  The different meats vary the flavor in their own unique ways, and I love them all.

Chips and Dip-The dip can be salsa, salsa con queso, or any variety of sour cream based dips.    The dip can be loaded with spinach.  I just love chips and dip, and I'm getting hungry simply thinking about it!

Hard-Boiled Eggs-I'm not sure why, but I LOVE hard boiled eggs!  I can eat them with a little salt and pepper, or I can eat them in the form of deviled eggs, or I can enjoy them in a good egg salad.  They also go well in potato salad, which happens to be another of my favorite foods.

What foods can you eat every day?