Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Introducing Lividia

I decided to take a break from a larger illustration I'm working on to show you a piece of it. I wanted to introduce you to Lividia Blackwell, the main character of my YA Victorian fantasy series. Her first book (which I call A Shadow Story) is finished, the second in progress.

This is Lividia.

Lividia Blackwell is the only daughter of Samuel and Elira Blackwell. Her hair is very dark and her eyes are very light. They are gray-blue and always look a little sad. She has the appearance of someone who has seen what no one else can see. And she has.

Lividia is seventeen, tall, and very thin. She is so pale that when she wears white she startles people. She has a habit of exploring her large stone house when everyone else has gone to bed. She also has a habit of finding out secrets. Lividia has always been good at finding things - especially things that no one wants found.

Lividia's personality is like a jewelry box with a secret compartment. Beneath what you expect to find is always something more. She's thoughtful, curious, and observant. She is brave but doesn't realized just how brave she is. Her temper flares brighter over an injustice done to a loved one than to herself. If she is faced with a problem, she considers it from all angles before diving into it. She is only frightened by what she can't rationalize. And it's what she can't rationalize that draws her.

Lividia is most comfortable curled up in a chair in her father's library, reading gothic novels. She doesn't mind library dust, since she doesn't trust rooms that are too clean. They remind her of museums.

Lividia's favorite color is emerald green. Blue is her second favorite. She admires purple on other people, but thinks it makes her look like a giant bruise. Red is completely out of the question. (It is also her cousin Nephenia's favorite color, but I'll talk about her later.)

Lividia's favorite animal is actually an arachnid. She's fascinated by spiders. She always has been and she assumes she always will be. They're terribly dangerous for something so delicate, and they are good at sewing. That's why she admires them.

Lividia is a late bloomer. She might be seventeen, but she resents the pressure society and her father has put upon her to grow up. Most of her interest in young men is confined to the heroes in her books. She isn't impressed by money or power. If she were to pick a match for herself, she would want just that. A match. A friend and a companion. Someone with whom she could share her dreams, her thoughts, and her day.

Lividia's mother wasn't human, but Lividia doesn't know just how different she is yet. My first book is the story of her discovery and the path it leads her down.

I really like Lividia so far and I hope you do too. You'll be reading about her as soon as I can get this book published!

The music I listen to the most when writing Lividia is Delirium. Here are two of their songs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yay, blog candy!

Thanks to Bailey at Over Yonder for giving me the Liebster award!
This award is meant to draw attention to blogs that deserve more attention. If you're curious about the name, Bailey shared that liebster is German for "favorite" or "dearest." Sweet, huh?

After you receive this award you:

1. Post this award on your blog.
2. Thank and link to the person who gave it to you.
3. Pass it on to five bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
4. Comment on those five people's blogs to share the good news.

Here are my five:

Cara M. at CP Slayer - so much love!
Zakgirl at Zakgirl On - as nice in chat as she is on her blog!
Skye at Write or Die Trying - this girl should have more followers!
Mara at Now Motivated - brand new blogger. Go make her feel welcome!
Arianna Sterling - been around the blog a few times, but this one's new to her.

Enjoy reading over these new blogs, folks! And keep passing the love around!

Inspired Tuesdays: Where Do You Get Ideas?

I broke my blogging fast to post an Inspired Tuesdays question. Inspired Tuesdays is a blog prompt. You can answer it in comments or link to your own blog post. Don't forget to check back here every Tuesday for a new prompt!

This week's question: Where do you get your ideas?
No, I don't mean what you read, or what you watch. I mean location.

Mine is the bathroom. Specifically, the shower.

(check out this terrifying shower curtain. I wouldn't sleep for weeks!)

It's the one place in my house where I have nothing to do but think. No one can interrupt a shower - well, they can try but it's usually not very effective. There's no information to absorb but bubbles and steam. There're no cats to feed or children to chase after. It's a perfect place to let ideas flow.

The only problem with bathing brainstorming is that if you get an idea, you often lose it before you're dry enough to write it down. When I googled shower brainstorming, I found this, and think it's a great concept:

It can be found on the gadget page of What a practical little gadget for writers!

Well, that's the end of this Inspired Tuesdays. Where do you get ideas? What makes that place special? Don't forget to leave a comment.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Deja Vu and Other News

So, this blog hop landed right in my lap, thanks to Bailey at Over Yonder getting it from Colin who got it from the lovely people who started it. (Isn't it great how the blogosphere works?) I'd been thinking about this very thing lately - a chance to repost an old blog post that I don't think got enough attention. It saves me having to write a new post, and it gives me a chance to meet a whole bunch of new people. It also gives me some exposure, which is nice. Never underestimate exposure. If you get a chance, check it out. It's made of win.

Now, on to the 'other news'. I've tried before (unsuccessfully) to cut back my blogging, but instead I became a blog addict. I don't have it organized, I blog on whims, and my followers never know when I'm going to blog. I pretty much break all the blogging rules I've read. (I'll make a post about that sometime. Should be fun.)

I'm trying to work on getting organized, but I've always had a problem with it. They say artists are innately disorganized, but that could just be a myth. So, in effort to get organized, I'm trying to cut back on blogging yet again. It might make it easier on my followers too, since you'll know what to expect and when to expect it. (more or less)

I appreciate all of you. I'll have to do some kind of contest in the future to reward you guys. I'm still thankful my introduction to the blogging world has gone so well. So, here's me signing off until I get a better schedule. (which means I'll probably pop up later this week with a post or two. ...Boy, this isn't going to be easy.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Don't Tell Me 'No'

It's been awhile since my Dance Mix for Rejection and this post is along the same lines. I attended Writers Chatroom last night, and left with new passion and new fire for what I do.

In case you're new to this blog, I'm an illustrator who writes novels. Sometimes I don't feel like I belong completely in either group because of that. I haven't met many other author/illustrators, but I know they're out there, so I know I'm not alone. I also know they are up against a big wall in the publishing industry: house illustrators. I've been told many times that publishers don't want author/illustrators because they have their own illustrators. I've been told this so much, I get tired of hearing it. I've been told this so much, I don't care anymore.

I have a confession: I don't like being told 'no'. I'm not talking "No, you can't have that doll for Christmas". The kind of 'no' I mean is "No, you can't do that/have that/be that because it's hard/only for people who aren't you". When I hear "No, you can't illustrate your own novels" I feel defeated before I even try. I might as well just give up sending my queries now. I might as well hang up my pens and ink. I get defensive, I get passionate, I get ticked off. I feel as though those people telling me 'no' don't believe in me, don't think I'm worth it, and don't understand how good I am at what I do.

I understand when something has been in place for so long that people are loathe to change it. But that doesn't mean it can't be changed. That doesn't mean that the right connections, the right persistence, the right drive, the right query at the right time can't make a difference. From what I've seen and experienced, the publishing industry is all about the right connections, and the right query at the right time to the right person. I believe in that right time, and myself. I also believe in God, and above all, I know He has a right plan for my life. Who's to say this isn't it?

The people I admire have written books that launched vast franchises, illustrated comics that changed the industry, designed characters for movies, games or television that no one will ever forget, and no one can tell them now that they can't do it. No one would have the nerve to tell Neil Gaiman or Tim Burton they couldn't do something. And once upon a time, those men were unpublished, and underappreciated. We all start somewhere. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, the list goes on.

Writers and artists need to be careful who they're talking to when they try to give a 'wake up' call to one of their peers. Even if you mean well, you might be building a wall of "no" and "can't" with your advice that should never be built. Let them face 'no' when the rejections start pouring in. Let them hear "can't" from someone else's lips, but not yours. There are enough naysayers out there without adding to the noise. They need your encouragement, not your negativity.

I first decided to include a few illustrations and chapter headers in my YA novel because an agent suggested it. Not a fellow writer, not myself, but an agent. She told me that agents are starting to want author/illustrators now. They like a package. That was only a few years ago. Since then I've grown my confidence to the point that I won't accept anything less than that dream. If I have to work hard, if I have to go through a mountain of rejections, I will see that dream fulfilled. I will not accept 'no'.

I've just started querying this year. Just started on the path that will lead me to publication. I don't need to hear 'no' this early. And neither does any other new writer. So save your 'no's and 'can't's unless you're saying "No! You can't give up!" Be a motivator, not a demotivator.

Here's a motivational song for ya.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Inspired Tuesdays: My Literary Hero

I don't usually do prompts, but I got a great idea for one today and I'm testing it out. I have Good Fridays already, but perhaps there should be something at the beginning of the week. So, this is a trial run for something I want to make a regular thing: something that crosses the bounds of both writing and illustration. I'm calling it Inspired Tuesdays. The point of Inspired Tuesdays is to explore what inspires writers and artists to create. What influences us, keeps us going, and makes us excited to do what we do?

The song for today is "You're The Inspiration" by Chicago. Here are the questions:

What literary character left the biggest impression on you and your writing? (and)
What writer/artist influenced your style and inspired you to follow the path you're on?

You can answer both, or just one. Leave your answers in the comments or link to your own blog post. Here are mine.

My literary hero is Alice. She's brave, curious, logical, and is filled with awe and wonder. That's mostly because she is still a child. I haven't been affected by any other heroine in the same way (though Heidi runs a close second). I love child protagonists because they aren't confused by hormones, or any other complications that growing up bestows. They don't have to prove themselves to anyone but themselves. They have an entirely different set of expectations - from the world and from themselves. In a way, they see the world a lot clearer, and once they understand something, they simply accept it. They believe in things without having mountains of proof. They're not afraid of asking questions or exploring. The world is forever new to them, and the people in it - no matter how mundane - are frightening, or amazing, or miraculous. Any world to a child can be a wonderland!

And now, moving on to my artistic influences. My creative godfathers are Yoshitaka Amano, Gerald Brom, Jim Henson, and Wendy Pini.

Ever since I did a report on Amano in college, I've admired the man. I played games he did character design for (Final Fantasy). I watched anime he illustrated (Vampire Hunter D). And I wanted to pattern my career after his. His inks are elegant and amazing, and his colored work has so much detail I'd lose my mind to try it myself. It's like a faerie world in every illustration!

Brom. There's so much I could say about him, but his art speaks for itself. Dark, textured, sexy, creepy, magical, haunting, and fantastic (among other words). He makes redheads hotter than they could ever be in real life. I love his skill with skintone, his way with leather and fabric, and his warm, burnt, rusty palette. Yes, sir, your art is win. So much win.

And now Jim Henson. What can I say? I loved Farscape, I loved Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and the Muppets. There didn't seem to be anything this man couldn't do. He'll be a classic forever.

Wendy Pini. When I was little - so little my brother had to screen my comic books for me - I discovered Elfquest. If any of you remember Elfquest, you'll recall it was an adventure of a band of elves who had large anime eyes, but western comic bodies, and lived in an alternative universe. This was because Wendy was influenced by anime (which I'd later learn when I got older and researched her). But her drawing style made such a mark on me that it's followed me through most of my life. Her characters were playful and fun (and reminded me a good deal of Peter Pan. Especially Skywise). I'm not sure if my love of pointy-eared men started with her, but it very well could have.

So, there are my inspirations for this Tuesday. What are yours?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Can Haz Thanksgiving?

Monday is a day to catch up on emails, read and comment on others' blogs, and generally get myself geared up for the week. This week, everyone's posting thankful blogs and running around like turkeys with their heads cut off. I myself should be posting car ads. (I hope my bosses aren't reading this.) But instead I was thinking of the last leg of this year, and getting hopeful and geared up about that.

I have no more Doctor Who episodes to watch until the Christmas special. I might wither away in my fangirling, but I can focus on my own writing and my own projects for awhile. So that's good.

Here are 11 things I'm thankful for this year:
1. That God always brings something good out of something bad.
2. That I have such a wonderful and supportive family.
3. That I have a job.
4. That I didn't continue doing Nanowrimo.
5. That I've started the second book in my Lividia series.
6. That I still have over a month to prepare for next year.
7. That I've learned how to query, and weathered through my first rejections.
8. That I've made some good writer friends - and will make more before the end of this year.
9. That I'm already building a fanbase. (yes, I know who you are, and I think you're wonderful.)
10. That I read and loved a new book series besides Harry Potter. (Hunger Games is one, the Tiffany Aching series is the other)
11. That they revived Doctor Who in 2005, and it's still going. (Geronimo!)

And some of the things I want for next year are:
1. To land an agent who really believes in my book and gets along with me splendidly.
2. For both of us to charm a publisher and get a publication date announced. (people have been waiting to hear about this, and I'd like to finally have something to tell them)
3. To decide whether or not to teach college.
4. To get a lot better at piano.
5. For Mr. Moffat to make River Song likable or else get rid of her. (I just had to throw that in there.)

Since my cat insists upon demanding attention every time I'm at the computer, I decided to make a lolcat of him. (after I gave him the satisfaction of playing with him, of course)

Beware. He still has all his claws.

What are you thankful for this year? What are you looking forward to for next year?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fight For You - Good Fridays

In case you don't know yet, Good Fridays are when I highlight a few things that I'm thankful for during the week. Things that are good (hence the title). I just realized I haven't written a Good Fridays post since October 15th. The week before I found out about Pip. When I think about her I still feel like this:

In fact, the last conversation we had was about Doctor Who. But, like the Doctor, I regenerated... sort of. I'm still regenerating. So today what I'm thankful for is Pip. And this is the story:

I met Pippa Jameson in a chatroom on MSN when I used to do online roleplay. (If you want to know about that, I'll tell you in another post.) This was many years ago. It's hard to believe I've known Pip that long.

It began with just character interaction, but after awhile we were chatting on MSN messenger (this lets you know how long ago it was). We became great friends, and I'll tell you why. Pip balanced me.

If you've ever met someone who is sunlight to your fire, then you'll understand what I mean. We had enough in common that we got along well and could share interests. But we were different enough to influence each other (in good ways and bad). She got to see the worst of me, and, I like to think, the best of me also.

(Pip sees all!)

Whenever she was online, we'd RP or just chat. She was always the first to know about late-night schemes and ideas I had. Since she lived in New Zealand, I'd stay up late just to talk to her. She was always supportive, and took my rotten mood's in stride. Anytime she had a problem or someone was giving her trouble, I'd put my avenging angel wings on and threaten to kick its butt. This seemed to help, even if I couldn't kick anything since I was on the other side of the world.

Pip and I created a lot of things. And those things live on - most of them inside my head. Whether in character, or as ourselves, I'd fight for Pip.

Do you have a friend who is sunlight to your fire, the peanut butter to your celery, the apple to your sauce?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

End of Time Rant - Doctor Who

Well, I can't hold this back any longer. It took me watching a lot of episodes, but I finally got to The End of Time episode in the 10th Doctor's last season. That is very important. Remember that. It was David Tennant (and Davies' entire team)'s last season. And they wanted everyone to know it. They kept reminding you all through the second part of that episode by tugging on your heartstrings and dropping lines like Tennant saying another man would be walking around instead of him. Or that Ood saying "This song is ending, but the story goes on forever." In fact, that last bit from the Ood was the only part of The End of Time that wasn't heart-wrenching hopelessness over losing the 10th Doctor.

So, plowing on! There are spoilers if you haven't seen The End of Time. And if you have, and you have opinions, go ahead and share them. Because I'm about to share mine.

I've really liked Russel T. Davies' work and David Tennant as the 10th Doctor. I liked a lot of the epicness of it all. And we're talking EPIC. Huge space battles, the Doctor as a god - he threw the Devil into a black hole, for goodness sake! The Devil! Davies was big on displays of high emotion, brushes with death, big danger. Oh yes. It was lots of fun.

In retrospect, the display from the 10th Doctor before he saved Wilfred from the irradiated booth was spot-on for his character. But I still didn't like it. I expected the Doctor to be better than that. Less selfish. After all, he knew he'd regenerate. Sure, he'd be another version of himself, but he wouldn't be dead. I expected the Doctor to be a little better than, say, me in a situation like that. I would've probably gotten upset and thrown a timelord-sized babyfit too. And cried, I would've cried. And I would've said "It's not fair!" (oh wait, so did the Doctor)

So, on to the death - oops - regeneration. It reminded me of when I used to write angsty fanfiction. Davies was determined to make this Doctor and his time on the show memorable. And he did. The Doctor visited all the human companions and friends he'd made earlier in the series, giving us a taste of what we were going to miss now that Davies' team of writers isn't going to be around anymore. (I really hope some of them show up again, but I'm trying not to be upset if they don't.)

We got to see handsome, broody, melancholy David Tennant stagger through the snow into the Tardis and sob one last line before he exploded all that regeneration energy all over the place. "I don't wanna go." (See the "I don't wanna go" Really? review.) Here I wanted to smack the writers. It was a cheap shot, aimed directly at the hearts of the David Tennant angsty Doctor fans. It hit me too, but I was already getting tired of the angst by now. I wanted a break from it. I wanted the Doctor to be fun and goofy and weird. I wanted him to be more like the 9th Doctor was.

And along came Matt Smith. Oh yes. If I wanted goofy and fun, I got it. And I was glad for it. It was like I'd just put down a particularly tear-soaked copy of a YA novel and wanted some Terry Pratchett to clear my palette.

Now that I think about it, David Tennant's Doctor was the Timelord of Angst ever since he came on the series. He started out half-dead (due to 9's regeneration), and needed to be watched over and taken care of until he had his strength back. He stormed through his four seasons on the show with tears, rage, and all that sexy sarcasm. Then he ended with a huge bang that set the Tardis on fire, sending it crashing to earth in a smoldering heap. Talk about a drama queen. ...and yes, I loved him. And so did all the female geeks who ever swooned over a bad boy with a tear in his eye. We wanted to hold him and tell him it would be alright. We wanted to ruffle our fingers in his 'sticky-up' hair. We wanted to be Rose. (Well, some of us did.)

Russel T. Davies pushed all our buttons. All the way through what one reviewer called an "epic space opera" Davies built his Doctor up so that when it came time to end it, we'd all be crying like babies. And that's the way it's done. As a writer, I can appreciate it, but as a viewer it made me angry and I want to kick his entire team in the shins.

The End of Time made it out to be the end of the Doctor. They might as well have had a sign that said "Stop watching now. Your favorite is gone. You won't like the other guy. Trust us." That's
what bothered me the most. How hard the transition felt. How jarring. However, now that I've seen 10's regeneration, I feel closure. Like a quick jab of a space syringe, pumping a soothing syrup of Matt Smith into my veins. Sometimes I think about 10 and feel that angsty lump rise in my throat, and then I remember the show's still going. This isn't the end of the Doctor.

"You have to leave!"
"I can't go."

Yep. That's right. Stay Matt Smith. Stay as long as you can.

Award Thanks and Wacky Music

First off, thanks to Zap over at Zap's Lobster Tank for giving me the One Lovely Blog award. I appreciate awards, but I always run into the same problem. Finding the required number of people to pass the award on to. I'm so new to the blogosphere that I don't follow many blogs yet. I'm trying to rectify that. So, I'll have to hold off on passing the award on to 15 people for now.

And now for the Wednesday update: This week I have two family birthdays and other things going on. It's raining and I don't feel like doing much. So here's a weird little, wacky video for you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Chapter finished!

Forest of Stone. Sound epic enough? (epic is my new favorite word) That's the title of the first chapter of Lividia Blackwell's second book. With a word count of 3,073, I consider it finished. So ends the first hurdle in my new journey. Series books always feel like journeys - both reading and writing. Wonderful journeys. And if they're really good you don't want them to end. For example: Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Sherlock Holmes on BBC. (Why are my favorites always british?)

So I can't wait to see what happens in the next chapter of Lividia's new story. I wish I was more of a plotter so I could say what comes between now and the next bit of great action I have planned, but I haven't the foggiest. I'll just have to see where the story takes me.

If you want to know some hints about the chapter (since it's a long time from publication) they are: glowing fish, big cave, and hidden monsters.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Attack of the Leaf Pile

This is what I do when I'm not writing. This is the kind of thing that inspires writing. My nephews, a big, open Saturday and the last of the November leaves.

Boys infinity, leaf pile 0.

Hope you all had a great Saturday too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 - Chasing Starlight

Far away
This ship has taken me far away
Far away from the memories
Of the people who care if I live or die
I will be chasing a starlight
Until the end of my life
I don't know if it's worth it anymore

My 11/11/11 project: The Eleventh Doctor (my favorite Doctor)
Three glorious hours of painting his face and arranging stars behind him. And the fez. I had to include the fez. (Star stock came from here.)


Inspired by:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Change of Plans

I've known I was easily distracted for a long time. I've known I try to do too many things at once and don't realize it until I'm up to my knees in it. I've known I can't trick myself into goals I don't believe in. I've known my priorities don't always revolve around what I should be doing. Technically, because I signed up on the website, I'm supposed to be doing NaNoWriMo, but I haven't been writing on my story for over a week. And I'm just now getting used to the idea that that's okay. I know exactly what I want this story to be. And the other night in Writers Chatroom I got a confirmation. I got 'permission' to stop doing Nano.

I don't like starting something and not finishing it. But I'm going to finish this story. I'm just going to finish it like I finished the first one: lovingly, with research if need be, with development, with time. I'm going to spend quality time with it, like I do my nephews, like I do with my sisters. That feels right.

I don't know if I'll reach the Nano goal this month or not. I'm not saying I'm dropping out yet, either. I just know I don't have to speed through this story.

I probably didn't realize what all Nano was when I signed up. Sure, I got the basic "you need to reach the goal of 50k in 30 days". But I've heard of all the ways people pad their stories out to reach that goal, how people panic or people feel like failures for not reaching it. I was starting to feel like a failure myself. It stopped being fun, and it did it in less than two weeks.

I launched into Nano with only an idea, and not a very well-developed one. (I decided to do Nano the day before it started.) But my new idea was so new that I hadn't had time to get to know it, and it didn't have as much draw for me. The MS I started in October did, though, and my MC kept calling to me to keep her adventures going. I'm querying her first book to agents. Really that's what I should still be doing - building my query list, sending out emails so I can get replies before the end of the year. I technically don't have time for Nano.

Nano is magnetic because of so many people, so much peer pressure. But you shouldn't do Nano because everyone else is doing it. You should do Nano because you want to challenge yourself, you want to finish the novel you've never made time for, you want to see if you can really write that much in a month. Whatever your reason, make it a good one because it's what'll sustain you when the going gets hard.

You shouldn't do Nano if you know it'll get in the way of other things that are more important. To all those who are still doing it, good for you! Have fun and get as much out of the experience as you can! To any who have realized they can't do it this year after all, don't feel like a failure. I don't.

This is such a pretty song with some really beautiful lyrics. Great for my mood right now:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I am Doom! - Roadtrip Wednesday

It's time again for another Roadtrip Wednesday!

This week's topic:
What are your writing and publishing superpowers?

I told myself I wouldn't do any more of these until I got further on my Nano, but I can't resist - especially when so many other people are doing it.

"Only Doom dares to dream! All others serve!"
Why Doctor Doom? Uh... I have a thing for world-domination.
(edit) Okay, it's because I like things big, I like things brilliant, and I like things MINE.

And now, my superpowers!

1. Character creation/development: From the character design, to the personality, I put a lot into making great characters. Sometimes my supporting characters will turn out great unintentionally and become an integral part of my story. But, I love it so much, I can get obsessed and it'll become my kryptonite.

2. Pantsing brilliance: No other way to explain this than just my subconscious is brilliant even when my conscious is a little dull. As I write, I watch plot tie itself together, strands that I'd almost forgotten about miraculously connecting themselves later in the story. I don't even know how this happens, but I'm glad it does!

3. Chapter titles: These are a lot of fun, and addictive. They only stumble me once in awhile.

4. Finally, my not-so-secret weapon: Illustration. If I have a problem describing a character or don't have a handle on what he/she is like, I just pull out my sketchbook. A few sketch pages later, I usually know the character much better. Or I'll keep at it until I do.

My kryptonite:

1. Deadlines: Ugh. Death. Dismemberment. I have a hard time sticking to them. I have a hard time self-imposing them and typically can't reach them because I just can't trick myself into thinking they matter. It has to be a party outside myself - a higher authority - that imposes them on me so I feel like there are consequences to not reaching them.

2. Book Titles: It's the pressure that this is the ultimate label for my manuscript, the word or words that everyone will know and speak once it hits shelves. A bad title can sink a book. Just like bad cover art can. I can't screw that up. Thinking about book titles, and especially series titles kills me a little inside.

3. Synopsis: I can throw together a pretty, polished, professional query letter... until it comes to the synopsis. There are so many ways a writer can pitch their book - for instance, mine could focus on the faerie aspect, or the boogeyman aspect, or just Lividia herself and her Victorian life. It all depends on the impression you want to give people about your book. It took me a very long time, and a handful of queries under my belt before I managed to get anything I really liked in this department.

What about you? What're your writerly superpowers? What's your writer kryptonite?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spoilers: a River Song Rant

First off, I haven't seen season 6 (or what is dubbed season six if you only count the last three incarnations of the Doctor). So, no spoilers please. If you haven't seen season 5, then here there be spoilers!

Second, there are some who like River Song and some who don't. If I had to pick, I'd be in the second category. And I will tell you why.

It isn't that I don't like her because she's the Doctor's future wife. (Although that does bug me just a little bit because I haven't gotten used to the idea.) It's that I don't like her. I don't like her attitude, I don't like her personality. I don't like how she makes the Doctor look like a bewildered schoolboy suddenly stripped of any authority he had. Sure, she admires him openly to others. Sure, she takes actions to help him, to keep him alive, to save his friends, etc. But she seems arrogant, and smug. It's almost as if she were created as Time Lord 2.0 designed to show the Doctor up.

When River came along in the fifth season, I found her origins very interesting. I even loved the idea that a woman with those abilities who'd time-hopped to find him, to help him, was going to eventually be by his side, someone for him to love and get to keep for awhile. He's always losing people that I thought it was a nice touch. It seemed like the writers understood fan sympathy for the Doctor and that they wanted him to be happy.

I'm not from the "She can't have him because I want him!" camp either. I liked the idea of the Doctor finally having someone of his own. But... not her. The way they wrote this lady gets under my skin every episode she's in. I keep thinking I might've seen her somewhere else and established a dislike for her before she was ever in Doctor Who. (possibly ER)

I especially dislike her with the latest Doctor Matt Smith. She fit better with the David Tennant incarnation of the Doctor - although she stumbled him too. Some actors have chemistry and some don't. River and the 11th Doctor feel off to me. He has more chemistry with Amy Pond than he does with his own wife. And because of the age difference between the actors - or maybe it's the boyish nature the current Doctor conveys - she always comes across as more a mother figure than an equal to the Doctor, in my opinion. So, paired with an almost innocent, wide-eyed, (and slightly bumbling) Matt Smith, it gives the impression of cougar and prey. When they kiss I find myself cringing, and I've never cringed over any Doctor Who smooches before.

The concept of the Doctor's wife feels like it was fed to us in hopes we'd eventually accept it, because we have no choice. It seems like the dreamchild of someone's fanfiction that somehow made it on television. We had time to get to know and grow to like all the other Doctor's companions, but suddenly there she is, thrust upon us, and wearing her relationship to the Doctor like a button on her chest. (of course, he's just as confused about all this as we are.)

I'd have a much easier time accepting it if it wasn't for River herself. A different actress would make it a lot more palatable for me. I'd enjoy the show a lot better then, and not keep wanting to boot her into the black hole from "The Impossible Planet".

And that's the end of my River Song rant. This blog will resume it's regularly scheduled writing and Nano-related program.

Monday, November 7, 2011

This week is New

I've needed time. Last week was the start of NaNoWriMo and the work on my house. I hardly had time to think, let alone focus. I did the obligatory things like work and daily activities. But creative things mean you have to stop normal thought processes and open yourself up to write, and to feel. When I feel, I'm sad. I miss Pip. Everyone's clamoring about word count and the world is moving on... fast. Holidays are coming. It's really an awful time to lose someone. You don't get the time you need to mourn them, to miss them. Something else is waiting to steal your time away.

I've debated posting this because I worried people didn't want to hear about 'sad' things in my blog. I already posted how devastated I was when my *incredibly* good friend died October 22. People already know about it, but I can't just move on that easily. She's going to show up in blog posts sometimes. And that's okay.

I've realized after the fact that she'd become a huge part of me. That's why my world felt shattered when she died. It didn't seem like her to die. It didn't feel right. But we're never really ready for it. If it had been another year more or fifty, I couldn't imagine a world without Pip.

I continue to pray for her family. And I want to thank them. I felt so fictional and useless when I got that news. I was only an online friend, like a character from our RP sessions. I didn't think anyone knew about me from Pip's 'real' life. But they let me know that they knew about me, that they were touched by the blog post I wrote about her. They liked the song I picked for her. They even used my words in her eulogy. And that... that was the greatest thing I could've imagined. I felt real in her life then. I felt like I could reach across the oceans and give something back. I'm happy I got to make that contribution, and that they thought enough of me to let me. I feel honored, and touched.

Thanks, Pip's family. You're just wonderful people.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Joining the Rebellion

This week has been crazy for me. I already mentioned in my Wednesday post that we've had little mini reconstructions happening in our house. Like walls, ceilings, and floors replaced or reinforced. Only one of each, but it's still a big deal. The workers did a great job and it's been exciting watching rooms change before your eyes, but it stresses you out and throws off your schedule. We got a new fridge and a new hot water heater, so there's been major appliance moving going on too.

The work invaded our space this entire week. I and my family had to keep finding a different room to take refuge in until they were done. But eventually they were finished. And now we can relax... after we clean. There's plaster dust all over the upstairs, I have sheets to wash and floors to mop. I also have a lot of things to move back into the rooms they worked on. The living room needs to function as a living space again.

Needless to say, this has cost me valuable writing time. After a day of all this, and trying to keep on top of my job, I am too tired. So, I'm thinking now is the time to become a Nano rebel. I'm behind in the novel I started (1,218 words, which I'm pantsing), but I have a perfectly good second Lividia novel I've been neglecting that is far more interesting to me right now. I might even tackle both of them when things settle down.

I don't intend to 'win' Nano, but I think I need to start fresh, and start next week instead. Here's to everyone who's doing their own thing in Nano!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Doctor's Invincible Hoedown

I'm horribly busy. Nano has started. Workmen are still in and out of my house, family around all the time (brother's visiting tonight) and I'm trying to catch time during the day to do my online job, and write. But! During my break, I thought I'd show you all my favorite Doctor Who fanvids from youtube. Here they are, in three categories.

Fight - The Stereophones(11)
Everybody Loves Me - One Republic (10) (This fits so well because he's most people's favorite)
No You Girls - Franz Ferdinand (9, 10, 11, companions)
Rocketeer - Far East Movement (10, 11, Amy, Rose, Donna)
Pretty Fly (for a white guy) - Offspring (9, 10, 11)
White and Nerdy - Weird Al Yankovic (10)
Tik Tok - Keisha (11) (the only way I can stand this song)
Dropped - Phantom Planet (9, 10, 11)
Let it Rock - Kevin Rudolph (11)
E.T. - Katy Perry (9, 10, 11, companions)

Love Today - Mika (10, 11)
Hoedown Throwdown - Miley Cyrus (10) (don't ask)

His Name is 'The Doctor'
Invincible - Ok Go (9,10,11)
New Divide - Linkin Park (10)
Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney (10)
Dream On - Aerosmith (9,10,11 and older doctor cameos)
I'm Still Here - Goo Goo Dolls (10)
Holding Out For a Hero - Jennifer Saunders (11, Amy)
Written in the Stars - Tinie Tempah (all doctors)

I'd Come For You - Nickelback (9,10, Rose)
The Call - Regina Spektor (9,10, Rose)

Can you guess who my favorite Doctor is? (If you can't, then click here.) Also, I want to own that tardis cookie jar!
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