Thursday, November 15, 2012

Something else about Chancey-boy.

If you'll notice, he has a playlist.  Scroll down.  There, at the right.  See?  Thank you, Spotify.

Actually it's not the complete playlist.  For some reason it only shows twenty of his songs (he has twenty-seven at the moment).  Sad but that's okay, because "Everybody Loves Me" is at the very top and to Chance, that's the only song that really matters.

Also, in regards to NaNoelle, I have almost 3k over my word goal again.  Yay for car rides of insane concentration.  I'm thinking about celebrating by having a Durarara!! marathon with chocolate milk and bell peppers. 

Too bad Chance loves bell peppers.  I'll probably have none left.  Ah well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A fortnight of NaNoelle.

NaNoelle.  Ah, I kill myself with my cleverness.

I'm on track.  Actually, not yet, but I will be.  By sometime tonight.  I hope.  I need to get ahead again because I'll be gone all day Saturday and will not have time at all to write.  Sigh.

Good news, though - I'm still having a blast.  There's no villain, no plot twists to worry about, no world to save.  Just a girl and her insanity and a god of mischief trying to help her.  And then the god of death just kind of dragging along and the eight-legged horse who has more sense than any of them.

And Edgar Allen Poe.  Gotta love that one.

Also, I thought it'd be a good time for an update on my Writing Team, since I have a new member...

See see see?  I have Marvel Loki!  Though he and Scar are far too friendly.  Especially when they both consider the other to be an idiot.  Oh, villains.

Anyways.  That's about it for today.  If you like anime, watch Durarara!! - it's fantastic.  Now I'm off to boost my word count and stop Chance from hogging all my Halloween candy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Because Mommy!Loki jokes never get old.

A bit from Chapter Four of Masque of Ice.


[Loki] leads me to Sleipnir’s side, and I think I understand what he asked – you can ride Sleipnir for a while if you want.  I whisper it under my breath, to make sure it does make sense.
“What was that?” Loki asks, lifting me up onto Sleipnir’s back.
I shake my head and hold Sleipnir’s mane in both hands.  He thuds his hooves into the carpet again – one two three.  
“We can go now,” Loki says pointedly to Hades.  “Is Daddy done fussing?”
“I don’t know,” Hades shoots back, “is Mommy done coddling the kids?”
I cannot help it – I laugh.  Loki gives me another look and raises his hands in surrender.  “No loyalty.”
“Set myself up, I know.  Move.”

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Everybody's better at what they do than I am at what I do (and usually they're better at what I do, too).

I never tailor my response exactly right to the person I'm talking to and therefore communication is faulty and I look/feel like an idiot.

There's always someone willing to get on my case for some detail I left out and usually I like and/or respect that person so my pride's stung more.

These are the days when I know it's better if I just stop talking to people before I die of bleeding dignity or broken pride.

These are the days for which anime was made.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch Durarara!! with Chance.  He'll hog the chocolate milk and probably insult me.  But maybe that'll be better than just normal people.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Heartstrings and the French assassin holding onto mine.

Chance would like to clarify that he's not actually French, he's Nor'Eastern, since France doesn't really exist anymore in his storyline.  Tomato, tomahto.

Chance Treize.  He was an incidental character in the first chapter or two of Deep Six (the third-place OYAN winner novel).  Lev needed a friend.  Chance popped up - seventeen, wavy-auburn-haired, blue-eyed, with an accent and a flirtatious manner and a love of extensive wardrobes. 

He wasn't what I expected.  He didn't play by my rules.  He switched sides.  He confused me.  He did things and said differently, and he spoke and did differently.  He was a traitor, to both sides of the conflict.

He lost his voice when he finally did the right thing.  And somehow that made him bitter and he didn't stay on the right side.  Sure, he's not 'bad' either, but he's not in any hurry to be Superman.

(He'd also like to say that sky-blue tights and bright red underpants are hardly his idea of fashion, too.)

In short, Chance is one of the most complicated characters I've ever written.  I still don't really know everything that makes him tick.  But he's so real.

He's real enough that I can feel him sitting by me on the bed now, peeking over my screen and asking questions. 

("What in Brahma are you going on about?  I'm not that complicated, silly girl.  You just like to think I am so you don't notice how attracted you are to me.") 

When my family and I watched Rear Window, I could feel him holding onto my wrist for the entire last thirty minutes of the movie.  Screw the fact that he's been a trained assassin for his whole life.  He was hanging onto me. 

("I regret to inform my author that she's bloody wrong.  I was seeing how long it would take to cut off circulation in her fingers.  Maybe I actually am complicated to her.")

His backstory, his mentality, his everything makes me hurt.  I want to give him a huge hug because he's so wrong and he won't admit it because if he's not the one to help himself, no one else will.  He needs to be there for himself and himself only. 

But he needs people, and he's only driving them away. 

He's outspoken and prideful and selfish and a coward.  He's hollowly flirtatious, an expert liar, and I'm not sure if he even grasps the concept of right and wrong. 

But he's Chance.  He's my character obsession right now.  He's my Imaginary Friend who won't leave my side, even when I'm with people.  He's the hand I feel on mine, the voice I hear when I'm by myself.  Insulting, mocking, flirting.  Occasionally breaking.

I almost want it to end - Chance is taking up all my thoughts now, regardless of NaNo and OYAN and school and everything else - but then I'm terrified of what happens if Chance does go away.  I'm no longer really sure what I'd do without him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stuff. Yes. Stuff.

I'm not rightly here.  If you can tell.

First thing.  NaNo.  I was going to update on the first day, but that... did not happen.

But today's the seventh, so I think a week's update is sufficient.

At the moment, I'm completely and totally in love with the story and I'm not even to the really good parts yet.  It's been ridiculously easy to write.  As of tonight, I have about 12.5k words - ahead of schedule!

And then today, we saw Wreck-It Ralph which was, in a better man's words, fantastic.  Ralph was a great character, Vanellope was flipping ADORABLE, and Felix and the Hero's Duty lady and King Candy and - Merlin's beard, it was just a good movie.

"I'm okay - it just glazed me!"

"Why are your hands so freakishly big?"
"I don't know - why are you so freakishly annoying?"

"You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses, would you?"
"Okay, you hit a guy... with glasses.  That's clever.  Well-played."

"They invited Pac-Man?  That cherry-chasing dot-muncher?"

And I admit that half of its charm was the game references.  I actually did play a lot of those games (Frogger. In the background.  Oh yes, one happy girl here), and I was having a flip-out when I saw Sonic doing ads for 'not dying' outside one's own game.

So yeah.  NaNo, going pretty well on schedule.  Wreck-It Ralph is a must see.  That's it for me.

Monday, October 29, 2012

NaNo. Again.

Aster, they name is Glutton-for-punishment.

Yep, I'm doing November NaNo this year too!  This time I actually have a brand new baby novel ready to write.  Well, not exactly brand new - it contains two original characters and three characters from mythology.  Not to mention the setting is taken from Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death."

But it's still my baby. (I'm pretty sure it'll end up a novella [and under 50k words - I'll see what I do about 'winning' NaNo later on] and therefore a real baby, my first novella.  But enough semantics.)

Here's the basic gist of what's, for now, known as Masque of Ice:

Legendary - it's obvious to say that it's populated by Legends.  Jack Frost, Perseus, Robin Hood, Aphrodite - heroes and villains of Earth lore all end up here in this small portion of Sector Country.

Noelle is an Icy - an Ice Spirit - one of Jack Frost's kind.  She's totally insane - sweet and very slow sometimes, but, if frightened, vicious and lethal.  She's been this way for four thousand years; lately, she's been getting worse.

After one of Noelle's fits take an even worse turn than usual, timid young Icy Missle and two other Legendaries, Loki and Hades, decide they want to help Noelle recover.  But when the attempt goes horribly wrong, all four (as well as the eight-legged horse Sleipnir) end up in Noelle's mind - a crumbling, seven-roomed nightmare of flashing color and garish noise.  If they get out before the Clock strikes twelve, maybe Noelle will be okay.  But if they don't, they all might die in Noelle's madness.

Noelle is one of my favorite characters (she was in Manipulation, actually).  Missle is really fun to write.  Loki is a new char but already I'm in love with his attitude and his flaws.  And Hades has green hair.  And Sleipnir the eight-legged horse!

I just finished outlining the important chapters.  It'll either be ten or eleven chapters - not sure yet on whether I need two or three introductory chapters.  We'll see.  But it's been a struggle waiting for Thursday. A real struggle.  This book is going to be so fun to write.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Well, I'm back.

Yeah.  Poor blog. Anyway.

Basically it's the same story.  I've not done much anything of any worth.

I'm on the sixth series of Doctor Who.  I'm still not in love but hey, it's fun.  And Rory is probably my favorite New Who character of all time.

I've also written a lot.  Sparkly Viking Vampire Aliens is coming along nicely at three finished chapters (nine to go) and the sequel to my sci-fi-lite assassin story Deep Six, for now titled Not A Chance, is a bit into its third chapter, as well.  And I've landed on my NaNo project - a novella about some Reflection characters of mine.  I'll probably do some quick charrie sketches sometime.  I'm excited about this novella.

And I've been reading some pretty good books and managing to cut down on books that I don't actually want to read that I just got from the library and feel obligated to read.  Right now, I just started what looks like a promising vampire/vampire parody thing called Team Human.  One very short chapter in and I love the heroine.  We'll see how long it lasts, buuuuut.  Crossed fingers.

I'm quite tired, having had only four and a half hours of sleep last night.  I was going to say more but I think that's enough catch-up.  I'll try to be back tomorrow with more enthusiasm for life in general.  And maybe more to say on Team Human.

Later, stupid faces.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The return of normal Aster.

Yep.  Catharsis is over.  I'm back to my unsocial, sarcastic, selfish, uncaring self!

To prove it, here's my report on this week's movies.  They actually only measure up to... two.  So I got distracted.  The first, which I watched Tuesday, was Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief.

Ye gods, Eragon was better than that.

That's all I have to say on that matter.  Except that at least you cared about Brom and Saphira and maybe even Eragon a little bit.  And that the battle scenes were actually interesting.  And that the dialogue wasn't always abysmal.

PJ gets no checks on those.

Today I watched Jane Eyre, the 2011 version with Mia Wasikowska in the title role.  I'd heard great things and I expected to love it, but... didn't.  I don't blame the actors - they were fantastic with what they were giving.  The script was just so... boring.  And it left so many holes in the relationship between Jane and Rochester.  Sigh.  Two disappointing book-inspired movies in one week.  Maybe I'll get better luck tomorrow.

Anyway.  The Book Report:

* Myths of the Norsemen by Roger Lancelyn Green.  YAY NORSE.
* Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.  Modern-day Beauty and the Beast retelling that could be really horrible or really good.
* Cart and Cwidder by Diana Wynne Jones.  JONES AGAIN.
* Beowulf translated by... someone.  I'll get back to you on that.
* Magical x Miracle Vol 2 by Yuzu Mizutani.
* Pandora Hearts Vol 7 by Jun Mochizuki.  I didn't get around to it last week.  I WILL do it this week.
* Wonder by R.J. Palacio. About a kid with a facial deformity.  It was actually really good.

I'm also sort of slowing down with my 100 In 100, but I'm still in the game.  Even if I don't beat everybody else...

Monday, September 17, 2012


Here on Earth, life depends on the adjustments.  The ups and downs.  The happy and the sad.  The one side the gives you perspective when you get to the other.  The never-ending teeter-totter, the constant pendulum of laughter and tears.

I just had a tears moment.  Over my own characters.  And not just one or two, as it usually happens.  No, this moment came courtesy of almost every character I've ever been close to.  It must have been twenty, thirty at least.  Crowded inside my head.  They reminded me of every sad thing I've ever written, every misfortune, every death.  Every person who had to move on in the timeline, in the reality inside my head.

It was hard.  But I needed it.

I have a tendency to take this art for granted.  I forget all the time what an honor and a privilege it is to be able to do what I do.  These characters - these people all living inside my mind... it's a beautiful, bittersweet state of being.

It's beautiful because they're my friends.  They are closer to me than anyone on this planet will ever be. They live inside my skin; they move me with their beliefs and their choices; their thoughts run through my veins.  I can't be a single entity anymore because they are me and I am them.

It's bittersweet because... they are me and I am them.  And they suffer.  Oh, they suffer.  When they suffer, I suffer.  They're bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh and I feel everything they feel.

And there are those few characters who turn out to be more of me than the others.  The ones whose pain comes from mine.  The ones I understand because they are me - they have more of me than the others do.  They're special.  They understand.  It's raw and horrible and I hate them because they have all my worst weaknesses.  But there's no way to keep from loving them, too, just for their weaknesses.  I know how it is.

How do I forget this?  How do I not end up face-first on the ground every time I open a document to write, in abject humility for being allowed this?

The feather-heavy touch of My Characters, holding my hand, living and loving and fighting and dying inside my skin.  These beautiful broken people, children from my mind Athena-like, who came to me without invitation and without permission.  Punching through my walls, braiding themselves to my heartstrings, taking me over and dragging me down into the deepest waters of emotional vulnerability.

I'm allowed this.  I can experience this.  The sweet curse, the bitter blessing, the white rose with bloody thorns.  It's a good thing it takes a long day and an unexpected mood change to make me realize this.  If it happened every day, I think it'd be too much for me.  I can only feel so much at one time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So behind with so many things.

Well, I missed about three different things I meant to blog about.  I'll just have to give the abridged version.

Book Report:
* The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman (SHUSTERMAN)
* The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (rec'd by a trusted friend)
* Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones (JONES)
* Henry IV, Part One by William Shakespeare (didn't get around to this last week)
* Magical x Miracle Vol. 1 by Yuzu Mizutani (random manga I picked up in Goodwill)
* Pandora Hearts Vol. 7 by Jun Mochizuki (didn't get around to this either)

Now.  The 100 In 100 Challenge.

As of yesterday, I had 1784 words.  About 700 of those were in the novel I started; the rest went into an epilogue I wrote for my fairytale/ghost story, Bitter Magic.  I haven't written anything today and I'm thinking this may end up my grace day for this week.  Headaaache.


As anyone knows, The Avengers comes out on DVD on the 25th - in other words, thirteen days. (Cue fangirl screams.)  I like counting down to such momentous events (it's sort of like my thing with Top Ten Lists and such) and so I've given myself this challenge:

Watch a new movie every day for thirteen days.  Then I can watch Avengers which I saw in theaters three times.

Does the connection make sense?  'Course not.  But I want an excuse to watch a new movie every day, so here we go.

I haven't decided on one for tonight, but yesterday I got around to one I've been wanting to see for ages - Castle in the Sky, a masterpiece straight from Hayao Miyazaki himself.  It was really brilliant - the art was gorgeous, the characters were awesome, and the soundtrack - aahhh, the soundtrack.  Definitely a winner.

I'll check back in tomorrow with something about both today's and tomorrow's movies.  And hopefully a much-higher wordcount.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Guess what, Avengers?  I WAS.

And I have conquered.


Every novel I finish has a different flavor.

Bitter Magic was appropriately bitter.  Sort of like old salt.  I was tired and that book had wrung me out emotionally and finishing was more of a duty done than something to celebrate.

Gemini, the second Aster Quartet book, that was... mmmm.  Strawberry cake.  I finished it on December 31st last year and it was kind of this big happy-party for me.  Especially since it's the longest book I've ever written (I think it got close to 100k words).

Deep Six was like cornbread and honey.  I knew it was too sweet of an ending but I loved it so much.  It and all my characters.  Not good for me - the MC was too much like myself for comfort - but really, really fun.

Manipulation... I don't know how it tastes.  I want to say catfish, but that's just because I was eating an old piece of catfish while writing the second-to-last chapter.

Actually, though, it does have sort of a... salty feel to it.   It's not a good book.  It's really a fail on most levels.  I hate reading through it because it gives this salty, don't-eat-too-much-or-I'll-dry-out-your-brain feel.  But...

Salt is good.  It doesn't taste good (by itself) but it's good.  You kind of need salt.

I've been working on this book for four years, at least.  I was developing the world for at least a year before that.  All the characters are sort of... under my skin.

Brian, Archer.  Jennet, Phillip.  Ariadne and Cynnabar.  Tabby and Peridoht and Marian.  Jack and Holly and Noelle.  Even Feldsparr, who only got in a few scenes but who I swear is going to get a position in some other story.  There're all... very personal now, even if their development wasn't the best I've ever written.  It's... I have to admit, I'll miss them.

That said.



I'll be back.  I have some homemade chocolate pudding to make.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

100 For 100 Challenge

Nope.  This picture has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the post.  I just like it.  Even though this Thursday has actually been pretty good so far, despite the lack of schoolwork accomplished.

So there's that.  The 100 for 100 Challenge.  I'll be attempting that, starting this Monday.

They encourage working in one manuscript.  You don't have to, but it's encouraged.  So I was thinking.

Evil Aster: Let's finish Manipulators before the 10th so you can focus solely on Sparkly Viking Vampire Aliens!

Real Aster: . . .

So yeah.  That's what I'm attempting now.  Eight chapters in five days.  WHAT.

If I succeed, then I'm going to be really pleased with myself.  I mean, really, really pleased.  Thrilled even.  I'll probably make myself a milkshake.  Or maybe even homemade chocolate pudding.

Did I just promise myself homemade chocolate pudding?  Goodbye, internet.  I shall see you again on the 11th, my face smeared with suspicious brown substance.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Report, 9.4.12

Well, I got everything read last week except for...

Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Vol. 2 by Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee, and Matt Wilson
Yep.  Let's try this again.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
The Shadowhunter world is like Maximum Ride - a literary trainwreck.  It's horrible to behold (is there any other more selfish love interest than Will Herondale?) but you can't stop watching (Jem, seriously, snap out of it and propose to Sophie before I start writing fanfic of her bashing in Tessa's wishy-washy head with the mirror).

Worldshaker by Richard Harland
Again, no idea what this one's about.  Just picked it up at a BAM sale.  We shall see.

Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce
...Would you believe I don't know what this one is about either?  Something about a room with lots of houses, I think.  It's one of my cousin's favorites, anyway.  And Diana Wynne Jones endorsed it!  I think I'll have fun.

Henry IV, Part One by William Shakespeare
Slowly but surely making my way down the Shakespeare list.

Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt
Just another little something to appease my Norse addiction.  Apparently a rewrite of Ragnarok.  Obviously.

Pandora Hearts, Vol. 7 by Jun Mochizuki
Aaaaugh this manga's getting goooood.  I still don't understand half of it but it's sooo goooood.  (And the art.  My gosh, the art.)

Friday, August 31, 2012


It's September.  Camp NaNo is over.  Even for those of us who didn't actually do the real thing.

Manipulation juuust did end up with twenty-five chapters so far, with a little over 52k.  Not much to be proud of, because... I guesstimate a little less than 30k was already written.  Not to mention I still have... eight or nine chapters more to write.

But that's all cool.  Because it's Friday night(ish) and I can now finish my New Who Series One marathon of episodes 9-13.  Maybe.

Or maybe I'll just crash.

Or read.

Or maybe even work on Sparkly Viking Vampires In Space. (For info on that, see my friend Quill's blog over to the right.  You will not regret reading about this project.  Maybe sometime I'll expound on it myself.)

Or hey, I could just keep blogging aaaall niiiight loooong.

You know it's time for me to go to bed when I start drawing out words.  Have a beautiful start to September.  Laterz.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm moping.

Some days you just see the worst in yourself.

Doesn't take much for me.  I used to not notice when my brain went into witch mode.  Then... I dunno, something happened, and now it's ridiculously obvious.

Not that anybody else'd notice.  I try to keep that stuff inside my head where it can't hurt anyone but me.  Maybe it doesn't work as well as I think it does, but I do try.

If you think nasty stuff about people that's true, does it still make it... bad?


And I'm the one who gets irritated when people jump to conclusions about people they don't know.  Sigh.  Hypocrisy, thy name is Aster.

Oh well.  I should go work on Manipulation, shouldn't I?  Writing always gets it out of the system.  And, y'know, this is the second-to-last day and I haven't written anything since... well.  Mondayish, maybe.  Or Tuesdayish.  Whatever.

BUT.  I did get something else done.  I finished Sapphique.  And holy flippin' mudbugs, that was beauuuuutiful.  If you haven't read Incarceron or Sapphique, go read them.  Nao.  Seriously.  These are going on my Slyther-Loki Very Favorites Shelf Otherwise Known As Jon.  When I buy them, anyway.  I need to get around to that...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Report, 8.28.12

So I figured I'd do a blogpost every Tuesday, when I get my week's reading stack together.  Because I like to rant about the books I'm reading and stuff.

No, I really don't need a reason, do I?

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
Dunno what it's about.  My best friend on OYAN suggested it and here it is.  It doesn't sound like my type of book so this goes to show how much I value her opinion. XD

The Eye of the Warlock by P.W. Catanese
One of Catanese's Further Tales, I think about... Hansel and Gretel.  Yeah, them.  Should be awesome. Catanese always is.

The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones
Again, I don't really need to know what it's about (and I don't).  It's just Jones.  And thus it'll be amazing.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Vol 2 by Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee, and Matt Wilson
I'm still not totally clear on where all these comics originate, but what the heck.  I've never claimed to be a comic book aficionado.  Thor's hilarious and oddly cute sometimes and it's just fun stuff.

(Loki's first appearance, and I mean the first appearance, back in the 60s-70s?  When the nurse woman says "Ooooh, he's so dashing and romantic" while Loki's wearing something that Aquaman would never touch?  Eheheheheheheh.  You think Loki's new helmet is cheesy.)

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
My classic for the week.  I've read bits of it for BritLit and was fascinated.  I've had it for a while, though.  I can't wait to get through it all finally.

Pandora Hearts, Vol. 6 by Jun Mochizuki
Augh, finally I get around to it!  This is an epic manga and the plot keeps getting twistier and the characters keep getting deeper.

Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
Saving this one for last because it's the one I'm most pumped for.  Aaaaaugh, Incarceron was even better the second time around and I can't wait to read this one because I hear it's even better.  SQUEE.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's the last week.

Of August NaNo, that is.

It's weird how you call it Camp NaNo or August NaNo or whatever.  Camp National November.  Shouldn't it be Camp WriMo?  Camp Writing Month?  August WriMo?

I really digress.


Manipulators stands at 48,000 words and twenty-three chapters finished, out of a projected thirty-five chapters.  Or is it thirty-six?  I don't remember.  I split a chapter in half and got confused.  I wrote the outline at four-thirty AM, anyway, I don't expect myself to remember the precise numbers.

So that's another twelve or thirteen chapters left.  And some of them should be pretty short (like twenty-four).  Then again, a lot of them will be pretty long.  So I know pretty much for a fact that I won't finish in August.  But that's okay, because twelve/thirteen chapters to the finish line is a lot closer than I've been, and I shouldn't have a hard time writing the rest of it in September.

Especially when I have my peeps watching my back.

Chibi-Automaton Sigurd, Siggy for short.  He urges all my deaths.
Ayame Souma from my favorite anime ever, Fruits Basket.  He's a handy evil-twist plotter, but they all have to do with romance, and I have no romance in Manipulators, unless you count Cynnabar's sort-of crush on Ariadne.
The tall bunny-eared creature is Scy (Sai).  He's my quiet buddy - bonks Ayame over the head when Aya gets too talkative.
And Scar is... um.  Motivation?  He glares at me when I don't write enough, anyway.  Not especially encouraging, but I like to imagine him singing "Be Prepared" during tough spots.  He doesn't appreciate that, but, y'know, suck it up.

With a team like this... "what have I to fear?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

*high-pitched girly scream of absolute terror*

This movie.


A 60s suspense movie, about a doll stuffed with drugs, the criminals who want the doll, and the young blind woman who's unlucky enough to get between them.

Watch it, they said.  It's a great movie.  It's a scary movie! they said.

Sounds fun, I said.  I doubt I'll be scared, but it sounds fun, I said.

LOL NOPE, the movie said.

Don't get me wrong.  This is an awesome movie.  Audrey Hepburn is my favorite actress of all time, and she acts blind so well.  It's almost impossible to not imagine it from her perspective - in the dark.  All the time.  Relying on her ears.  She just begs you to imagine what it's like for her.

Wherein lies the terror.

It feels. so. real.

And that last scene.  I understand why it'd be one of the most famous scary scenes of all time.  See, I'm not scared by anything.  Okay, well, some things, but not usually anything fictional.  I'm really hard to terrify.  Not to mention that it's physically hard for me to scream.  I've tried and it just doesn't work.  There's something up with my throat, or something.

During that last scene?  I screamed.  

I read somewhere that when it was in theaters, they turned down the lights as low as possible.  And then when Susy (the blind girl) starts breaking lights, they turned off the theater lights one... 



I can't even imagine.

So, if anybody needs me, you'll find me under my blanket.  With a flashlight.  And my cat.  And maybe Winnie The Pooh.  And one or two of my dear faithful characters armed to the teeth to protect me from the drug dealers who may have hidden their coke in my Pillow Pet.

A taste of Manipulation.

...I glanced over at Archer.
            Her eyes were red and swollen, and her hair was fluffed everywhere, like a chicken had been rooting around in it.  “You don’t look so hot,” I commented, going closer.  My legs ached but I tried to ignore it.
            Archer looked up and glared daggers.
            I raised my hands.  “Just sayin’.” I knelt down by her.  “Look...”
            Well, this was going to take more moral fortitude than I had expected.
            “Look.  I’m sorry.  I’ll try not to antagonize you anymore, despite the fact that’s my best method of stress relief so far.” I paused.  “We need you in the game, Archer.  You’re a manipulator just as much as I am.  You need to help us.”
            She looked at me steadily.  Her eyes looked way colder than they should have.
            “I want to go home,” she said.
            Then she turned sideways and rested her head against the wall.
            I scowled.  “That’s a nice way to try to get there.”
            She didn’t react.
            “Fine, be a baby.”
            Something clicked outside the cell.  Archer jerked upright, her eyes going wide and white.  “What’s that?” she hissed under her breath.
            The three of us were still for a few seconds.  I relaxed and shook my head.  “Just something...”
            “What if they come back and want me?” Archer whispered, clutching at her hair.  “I can’t do that – I can’t take that!  I don’t know what to do.  I can’t be tortured.  I – there’s just no way—“
            “Archer!” I grabbed her shoulders, and she jerked her head up, focusing her wide eyes on me.  “Chill. out.  You have to keep it together.  No going crazy – all right?”
            She didn’t respond at first.  The intensity of the fear in her eyes was... scary.
            “Archer.” I gave her a little shake.  “Keep. It. Together.”
            She gave a little nod and gulped again.

Dunno, just really liked that part.  Which probably means it's hideous.  Oh well.  There it is.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Some past NaNo dialogue.

I was trying to work on Manipulation this afternoon.  Didn't work.  At all.  Annoying little novel.  Too stubborn for its own good.

Anyway, I ended up going through last year's November NaNo.  It was supposed to be a prequel to my longest-running series, the Aster Quartet, focusing on one of my favorite characters, Doli Lin Greya.  Epic guy, if I can blow my own horn for a moment.  Among the best I've ever written.

It was really painful going through If I Fall Away. (Working title - one of Doli's theme songs is February Song by Josh Groban, which contains the line 'Forgive me if I slip away,' which I modified to If I Fall Away for reasons unknown to myself.)  Painful because, one, the plot was really, really badly done.  Writing in deliberately short chapters does something to my writing, apparently, because this plot was just all over the place.

Two - my dialogue was, by and large, really, really spectacular.

Any of my writing friends will tell you that I don't compliment myself often, so I'm really confident in the dialogue that I wrote for Doli's book.  I think it's because I was so much in the characters' heads - especially Doli, here going by the name of Avi, and his best friend, Tomi.  I know exactly what happens to these chars and how it affects them, so, even if the plot was poorly executed, I still have a blast going over some of the repartee between Avi and Tomi.


Avi and Tomi climbed past the grass and collapsed in a heap.  Avi let his fingers drift over the freshly cut grass stubs; the scent of hay hung in the air.  “Must have mown it lately,” he mused.

“They did.” Tomi crossed his legs and slumped forward, elbows on his knees.  “I saw them.”

“Didn’t help them?”

“I was too busy dodging the Duo.”

Daraq and Vycaris.  Avi nodded.  “Understandable.”
Tomi grabbed a handful of grass and ripped it from the ground.  Avi winced but didn’t say anything.  “I just don’t get what they want from me,” Tomi snapped.  “What don’t they understand about ‘let me think it over’?”

“Nothing, obviously.”

“Obviously.” Tomi pulled one piece of grass from his hand and ripped it between two fingers.  “It’s stupid.”


“Stop humoring me.”

“You’re the Prince, my lord.”

Tomi threw the grass at Avi.  Laughing, Avi tried to duck, but the blades fluttered down all around him, a few blades drifting down the back of his shirt.  They tickled and scratched on the way down and Avi clawed at his back, trying to get them out.  “Ouch!”

Tomi stared at him a moment, then burst into laughter.  “You’re so pathetic.”

“It itches.”

“So you say ‘ouch’?”


Preya, the hyper-High Colitar’s friend, was gone.  So now it was just Avi and Jai.

He swallowed and moved toward the tomb.  It came as high as his shoulders, solid and sure.  When he touched the polished stone, a chill traveled up his arm to the back of his neck.  He twitched and took his hand back.

“Was that for missing the funeral?” he asked softly.  “Sorry.  I didn’t want to.”

He blinked and added, “Not that I wanted there to be a funeral at all.  But... I guess it was inevitable.  It just hit me pretty hard.”

The tomb crouched, silent, in the moonlight, immovable.

Avi sighed and collapsed on the bench.  “I am so tired, Jai... Great-grandfather?” He shook his head.  “That’s just strange.”

 “A little.”

Avi looked up.  In almost the exact spot he had stood himself was Tomi, bleary-eyed and clutching a black jacket around himself against the cold.

Avi stared at him.  “Does everyone like congregating in the graveyard in the dead of night?”

“No.” Tomi arched his brow and came to the tomb.  “I didn’t realize two people qualified as ‘everyone.’”

“There was...” Avi stopped.  “Never mind.”

“A few ghosts keeping you company?”

Preya’s pale face and pure white wings came to mind.  “Not exactly.”

“Well, that sounds intriguing.” Tomi lowered himself down onto the step.  “But what’s even more intriguing is why in the world you’re out here.”

Avi touched one of the tomb’s stones.  “Just needed to... think.”

“We thought you’d be in bed for a long time.”

“I’m fine.” If ‘fine’ translated to ‘even the water in my body feels like it’s sharp and pointy,’ then yes, I’m perfectly fine.

“Mm, I’m sure.”

Come to think of it, Tomi usually did seem to hear his actual thoughts.

“How was the funeral?”

“It was... nice.  Grandfather would have liked it.  Simple.” Tomi drummed his fingers on his knee.  “Everyone – Father, Mother, Vycaris, Daraq, Konna – they all said a few things.  I did, too.”

Avi was in the farthest mood possible for wanting to lighten the situation, but he couldn’t help it.  “You cried, I assume.”

“Yes.  Gallons.”

“I’m surprised this tomb isn’t smaller.  Don’t waterfalls erode stone over time?”

Tomi opened his mouth to reply, but his solemn expression cracked open to reveal a wide grin.  “Idiot.”

“You played along.  That makes you a bigger idiot.”

“Eh.” Tomi leaned back against the tomb.  “Probably.”


“Oh.  Oh, oh, ow.”

Something smacked Avi’s shoulder, dragging him from the ocean of sleep he had been drowning in.  Startled, he scrambled backwards and fell off the bed.

Onto grass.

Avi stared at the greenness beneath him.  Grass?  What in... Then he looked up at Jai’s tomb, and it came back to him.

Tomi hadn’t lost his balance, but he looked close to it, stretching his arms and legs in several directions, while his face contorted similarly.  “I am so sore,” he grumbled.  “Whose idea was it to fall asleep out here?”

“I don’t think it was a conscious decision.” Avi rubbed the back of his neck, where it felt like a vampire (possibly a stone vampire shaped like a tomb) had perforated his skin with edged teeth.  “But I’m blaming you.”

“Ha!” Tomi tried to stand, but fell back against the tomb and only just caught himself.  “Oh, the pain.”

Avi snorted.  “You’re pathetic.” Then he attempted to rise himself.  A few seconds of trying left him in much the same position as before.

Tomi burst out laughing.  “And he says I’m pathetic!”

Stiff muscles shrieking, Avi scrabbled at something, anything, to help him get up, but there was nothing handy.  He scowled.  “Oh, help me up.”

“Me?  Oh, no.” Tomi’s hair bounced up and down as he shivered in pent-up laughter.  “I’m too pathetic to do anything.”

“Then I blame you when someone comes to dump dirt over me and erect a tomb in my honor!”

Tomi wandered over, grinning enough to split his skull in half.  “You blame me for a lot.”

“You’re guilty of a lot,” Avi grumbled, finally managing to get into a crouching position.  “I swear, bad ideas do come back to bite you in the—“

“Good Lynne, what time is it?” Tomi peered up at the sky.  “It must be past lunch.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hey, look. I live.

I'm like one of those scarily powerful Bleach characters, or that annoying love interest.  Right when you think I'm gone - SURPRISE.

Anyway, I did come back for a purpose.  Camp NaNo.

Among other novels, novellas, and worthless connected short stories about villains in Limbo, I'm writing a book whose working title is Manipulation.  (Actually, I'm thinking about calling the trilogy that, and since I despise it when first books are called the same thing as the series name, I'll have to change it.  That'll come later.)

Basically, I've been writing it for nigh on four years and I was hoping NaNo could galvanize me into finishing it once and for all, because I'm tired of the stupid thing.

Unfortunately, I'd already written 150 pages of it and it all needed to be edited.  So, effectively, half of August has been taken up in editing.

Except it was less than half, because in between edits, I was finishing up other edits on this other book I wrote, Bitter Magic, the link to which I may or may not post sometime, depending on how it places in the contest for which I wrote it.

Back to Manipulation.

Today marked the day when I actually finished editing.  The plot is cleared up, I have my plan of action (mostly), and I'm ready to write.


Sorry.  My alter ego keeps shouting at people.  I'll try to put more duct tape on her next time.

But, yeah, it's pretty exciting stuff.  I may post updates and I may not, depending on if I can actually remember to do it.  I may even post a little synopsis and/or rant about the characters. (Characters are always, always my favorite part.  And I've got Jack Frost in this one.  JACK. FROST.)

Eh, I had more to say, but I think that's it.  Wish me luck on finishing this baby by September.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Great Bookstore Receipt Safari: The Final Store

After Kansas came Arkansas.  The best trip of all, somehow, even though I only bought three books and they were the most expensive.

I'm serious, y'all.  If you ever visit Little Rock, Arkansas, go to WordsWorth Books And Co.  The atmosphere is unbelievable, and even if the selection is small, it's amazing.  The place feels so... literary.  And soothing.  And peaceful.  I mean GET IN YOUR CAR AND GO.  Seriously.  It's spectacular.

My first book was The Alchemist and the Angel by Joanne Owen.  I've never heard of this book or this author, but the cover and the title sold me.  Hope beyond hope it's good.

Next was The Adoration Of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson.  I've heard of it but wasn't overly interested until a good friend with epic taste rec'd it.  I absolutely love this cover, too.

Now.  You remember my mention of my Norse mythos nerd?  Well.  At this amazing bookstore, I found - wait for it - THE ELDER EDDA.  FOR SERIOUSNESS.  I FOUND IT.

I have to tell this story because it's amazing.  When I finally got ready to check out, after hanging around for way too long, the lady who owns the store (she's amazing, too, fyi), looked at the Edda and laughed.  She told me her son had ordered the book just a couple weeks back, even though SHE thought no one would ever buy it.  And here I come in, have a freak and do a happy dance in the aisle because I want it so much.  Angel Chorus of Destiny, anyone?

That was my Bookstore Receipt Safari this past week.  Believe it or not, I still didn't get to a bookstore in Mississippi.  Oh well.  Next time.  I think I have enough books now, anyway.

After all, the total adds up to seventeen books.  I think that's a good enough haul for now.

The Great Bookstore Receipt Safari: Third Time's A Charm

After Missouri came Kansas.  I didn't go to a bookstore there until after the Summer Workshop, so I come to you with a collection I bought on Saturday.

My Kansas receipt comes from a bookstore called the Book Warehouse, in a mall in Olathe.  IT WAS HUGE AND AMAZING.  The children's/YA section ROCKED.  So many epic looking books... and a great sale, too.  I totally rec if you're ever in the Olathe area.  Or in the United States.  I actually got six books here, too.

First we have Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce.  I never knew what it was about, even though my cousin loves it.  And Diana Wynne Jones endorsed it, so it has to be great.

Speaking of which!  I found Cart And Cwidder by Mrs. Jones, the first book in her Dalemark Quartet.  Again, I have no idea what it's about.  BUT IT'S HER.

Next is Flight by Jason Lethcoe, the first The Mysterious Mr. Spines book.  I love Lethcoe just for Benjamin Bartholomew Piff, but this series is pretty awesome, too.  I need to reread the first book, though...

Another thing you should know about me: I'm a blossoming Norse mythology nerd.  I love it.  So much.  So when I saw Thor's Wedding Day - by Bruce Coville, no less - I had to get it. even if it's not exactly a mature retelling.  I think I'm not a fan of Coville like most people are, but it was still cute.
Then we have Bones Of Faerie, by Janni Lee Simner.  I picked this up on a whim because I love faeries.  At it has a gorgeous cover.  Here's hoping it's good.

And finally, we have The Pied Piper/El flautista de Hamelin, a Pied Piper retelling in both English and Spanish.  I got it to practice my Spanish.  I mean, how impressive would it be if I could recite the Pied Piper tale in Spanish?  It should be really fun.