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.