Wednesday, July 12, 2017

See You In August!

Good morning! I'm taking a break from blogging g for the next few weeks, so I will see you all for IWSG in August! Happy Summer!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: Lessons!



Happy Wednesday!

I keep thinking it's Monday because I didn't work yesterday, and though I said I'd schedule a post Tuesday, I forgot.

It is already the first Wednesday of July! On this day, we insecure writers throw our doubts into the wind and discuss our insecurities, give a little encouragement, etc. Visit Alex J. Cavanuagh, sensei, and stop by the official website to join the fun!

I'm currently participating in AgentQueryConnect's Summer Marathon for the Speculative Fiction group, so I have 3-4 eyes looking at my manuscript at the same time. I'm so glad for it. Hopefully, I can start querying again by the end of the year. I don't want to polish this thing raw, but I do want it presentable and agentable.

It is also my birthday month, yay! I will be in Tennessee for a couple of days of that week, and I look forward to all of my shows and the summer movies coming out that week: Game of Thrones, Insecure, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

This month's optional IWSG question is: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

I learned to not be so stubborn when others critique my work. Not to say the "grow a thick skin bull" people always tell you, because some people can be mean and condescending when they look at your work, and you shouldn't have to put up with that. I'm talking about when people are giving good, honest feedback. I had to learn to handle that, and now I see others struggling with the same thing, so I try to let them know when they need to stop pushing back at critiques they receive. It makes things a lot easier, and reduces your amount of drafts, so LEARN EARLY.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Final Fantasy Friday: FFXV & Homages


It is the 5th Friday, but the 4th Friday after IWSG, so that means it is time for Final Fantasy Friday!

As you know, I've been playing Final Fantasy XV, a very intricate game for new and old fans. I'm finally at a point where I have no choice but to stop and do side quests to level up because I am on the final chapter of the game, which was actually the beginning of the game, so now I understand what the heck was happening.

So at this juncture, I have to stop and talk about a few of the homages to the other games that blew my mind. FFIX had homages, too (the crystal returned, skill-based mages designated by colors, etc.), but there was one in particular in FFXV that I didn't realize until I was saying it out loud (it's coming up in a few). So let's go through a few.

1) Light vs. Dark

I think a few of the early Final Fantasy games always dealt with a time where Warriors of the Light had to be called to battle away the overwhelming darkness. FFIII and FFIV are the ones that come to mind most. FFXV is a huge battle of light vs. dark. Noctis (night) from the kingdom of Lucis (light). lol Night Light. OOH, or Knight of Light! I just caught that play on words. Everything in this game revolves around keeping the lights on because if you don't, daemons emerge, and they're quite scary.

2) FFXV Prompto / FFVII Cloud



The top one is Prompto Argentum, super goofy friend of Noctis who has a dark creation story (he was genetically engineered like all of the imperial troopers we've been fighting the entire game, see Homage 4). The parallel is obvious if you know anything about FFVII. Cloud Strife (on the bottom) was a genetically enhanced trooper. Visually, they're that waify blue-eyed figure with the weird spiky blond hair and the permanent pout.

3) Keycard Access

Still looking at FFVII, as I said in the last Final Fantasy Friday, I was in this creepy dark town Gralea trying to save Prompto. I end up in a lab, Zegnatus Keep, where I need keycards to get to the next floor. In the first disc of FFVII (wow, anyone remember where you bought 3-4 disc video games? lol), I take Cloud through Shinra Lab, and I need to fight soldiers all through the place and find the one with the keycard to the next floor. It was very reminiscent of the first time I played FFVII. I really appreciated it.

4) The monsters are people.

In Zegnatus Keep, there are reports all over the lab where I learn that the daemons I fight whenever I'm out in the dark and while I was walking all through this God-forsaken place, I learned the empire was growing magitek (the imperial troopers) by infecting humans with a daemon pathogen (WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG). The side-effect was a lot of people turned into full out daemons. In FFVII, in a flashback with Cloud and Sephiroth, we go to Nibelheim to fix a leak in a reactor. The leak was causing monsters to sprout around town. Sephiroth tells Cloud to look into one of the pods sitting in the reactor. There's a monster in there. (Run-on alert) Not only is it a monster, it's a human injected with alien cells to make it a superhuman not knowing the result could be an alien, because it's actually Jenova alien juice that is coming through the reactor, because the stupid Shinra empire thought Jenova was an Ancient and wanted to create more Ancients and ended up with Sephiroth! So they thought they could make more.

5) Bahamut ruins your life.



I actually posted the first video somewhere, most likely last year's A-to-Z. In my favorite Final Fantasy game, FFX, the group reaches a wall filled with people, fayth, who the team thinks is being used to summon something huge. When Tidus touches it, he faints and meets the fayth who became Bahamut (top). He tells Tidus the fayth are actually people and summoners from the old machina war. They became fayth to keep the dream of Zanarkand alive. Now they're tired, and because Tidus is from the dream world and touched Sin, the monster created by the bad guy in the game, he will be able to defeat the whole thing so the fayth can all rest. Of course, that means, they'll stop dreaming, so Tidus, as part of that dream, will also disappear. FFX has the most heartbreaking game ending I've ever had to sit through (FFVII Crisis Core was the most traumatizing, if you're a fan who happened to stumble here via hashtag).

In FFXV, at the heart of the Zegnatus Keep is a crystal, which Noct gets sucks into. There he meets Bahamut, who tells a wonderful story about how one of my ancestors, who is currently roaming the world infected by daemon juice, can only be destroyed by Noct, and by doing so, Noct must gain "Providence" which entails giving up his life. So he must die to save the world. I'm pretty sure the devs did that as a nod to FFX. Bahamut, wielder of flare magic and bearer of bad news. Of course, I haven't gotten to the end yet, so I don't know how this plays out (and don't tell me!). But I will say this is also reminiscent of FFX in that both games have you take this journey to gain more power to defeat the enemy by way of sacrificing yourself! That's what the summoners did in FFX.

6) FFX "Suteki da Ne" / FFXV "Somnus"

This one you have to hear to understand, so just push play. ;)


Push it again.



The quintessential song from FFX is "Suteki da Ne" (Isn't it Wonderful). It's a beautiful song, and very light in its sound and singer. An instrumental version of "Somnus"(Sleep) is the first thing you hear when you turn on FFXV, and if you can't hear the similarity, I worry for you. But what you should also notice is the difference in the tone of the song. It's darker, much sadder. The singer is a rich alto vs. SDN's tinny soprano. I also like how FFXV is almost telling FFX to sleep, which is really what the fayth are doing in FFX!

All right, geek out over. I was very excited to see these nods to earlier Final Fantasy games, and I can't wait to finish and see if the ending wrecks my soul or makes me incredibly happy and excited to play the Gladio and Prompto DLCs. Be sure I'll let you know.

I won't see you before IWSG, so have a great weekend, and enjoy your 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Liebster Award 2017

 
 
I usually set aside the third week of the month for Tuesday Tales, but I've been nominated for the Liebster Award!! Thank you so much to The Manic Writer Shannon. I was shocked to see that in the comments. It's good to know people actually stop by here lol.
 
Here are the rules for the Liebster:
 
  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.
  • Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog to let them know)
  • Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions
  •  
    So, I won't waste anymore time. Let's get into these questions!
    1. How did you get started writing? Back in the 1st Grade, they handed out blank books for us all to tell a story in. I told a weird biography/fiction about my older sister lol. But after that, X-Men: The Animated Series came out, and I loved those characters and the stories so much that I tried to do a teenage version for about 7 years. I keep trying to revamp it, but we'll see what happens.
    2. What do you love most about being a writer/blogger? I love when fresh new ideas come into my head and I can actually execute them into something tangible on "paper." It's exciting.
    3. What do you hate most about it? When the well is dry. lol I don't know if it's because of my age, because I remember writing down countless ideas as a teenager, but now, maybe because the many directions adulthood pulls your mind, the ideas don't flow as well as they used to.
    4. If you don’t write full time, how do you manage your writing time and still feel productive? When I have down time at work, I try to sneak in some writing. Wherever or whenever the ideas come, I try to hold onto them long enough for me to write them out.
    5. What helps you organize your writing work the most? Organize? What is that word? Is it real? ;) I'm a pantser, so there's almost no organization when I write. Whatever comes comes, no matter where it falls in the plot.
    6. Name your inspiration. Another author you look up to? A teacher who encouraged you? Someone else? I discovered Octavia Butler in college, and just to read some of the things she said made me feel great to know it wasn't just me who was thought to be weird for writing speculative fiction. I also look up to N.K. Jemisin; her writing has changed my life and made me so hopeful!
    7. If you are having trouble settling down to write what is your go to so you can make it work? See question 4. lol
    8. Do you write at home or away from home? If away, where? I write wherever I can.
    9. Do you let family read your work? I used to. I'm not sure that they're all that interested anymore.
    10. What is your favorite book? Why should I read it? Read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Read the whole trilogy! The Broken Kingdoms is my favorite of the three books, but sometimes you need context, so start at The Hundred.
    11. What one piece of advice would you offer to someone who just discovered they want to be a writer? Keep writing and start learning.
     
    Questions I have for my nominees:
     
    1. What was the first thing you remember writing?
    2. What was the first book you remember reading?
    3. What are you currently reading?
    4. Do you like movie adaptations of books? Why or why not?
    5. (Might be a trick question, but you never know) Was English your favorite subject in school?
    6. What was your very first blog post about?
    7. How has your writing evolved since your first story?
    8. Name an author you couldn't live without reading.
    9. Where is your favorite place to read?
    10. Where is your favorite place to write?
    11. When it comes to writing/blogging where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
     
    And now, my nominees...
    1. The Book Babe
    2. Stephen Tremp
    3. Dani @ Entertaining Interests
    4. Jackie @ Bouquet of Books
    5. Sarah @ The Faux Fountain Pen
    6. EdgyAuthor Heather Holden
    7. Diana Wilder
    8. Molly Blaisdell
    9. Joyce Alton
    10. Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption 
    11. Donna McDine!
    

    Wednesday, June 14, 2017

    Wednesday Words: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

    Wish my sister and I the best of luck and fun as we're off in a couple more hours to audition for Wheel of Fortune in NYC!



    It is the second Wednesday of the month, which means time for me to share with you all what I am reading this fortnight (is it always a fortnight, no matter the time of day?). So, sometime in the next couple of hours while on a train, I plan to crack open Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.


    I'd heard of this book most of my college years, and I've heard a lot more of it since Trump was elected. When I saw it was becoming a TV show, I was intrigued. My sister has read the book and watched the episodes currently aired on Hulu. When my cousin, who almost never watches anything, started watching it and commenting her shock, I knew I had to start watching, too. So, after episode 3, I said, "Screw my To-Read list, this is the next book I read!"

    So it shall be. And now, I'll share a few lines from a random page. There are 311 pages in this novel, and Random, fortunately, chose page 49. I don't want to be caught off guard but also don't want too big of a spoiler. Hopefully, this page is near one of these 3 episodes. lol

    *flips to 49* Ah, it's the end of a chapter.

    The hall is dusky, this is a man, his back to me; he's looking into the room, dark against its light. I can see now, it's the Commander, he isn't supposed to be here.

    Ah, yes. Just enough to intrigue and not spoil. I wonder how far into the narrative this is. I can't wait to find out!

    What are you reading this week?

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    IWSG: I've Never Quit, But...


    It is the first Wednesday of the month, where we insecure writers throw our doubts into the wind and discuss our insecurities, give a little encouragement, etc. Visit Alex J. Cavanuagh, founder extraordinaire, and stop by the official website to join the fun!

    This month we were asked if we have ever quit.

    I've never stopped writing. Writing is something that has always kept me going. Just thinking about never pursuing a career in writing or not writing at all hurts my feelings.

    But though I haven't quit, I've thought sometimes that maybe I'm not someone who will get published, or with the luck I've had in the past with CPs, those are signs that I should give up. When those thoughts pop up, I counter them with the thought that these are just obstacles I have to get over. This past year, I had a great experience with pitches and a full edit letter on my manuscript. Things may not be moving as quickly as I would like, but they are still moving, so I just have to do my part. :)

    Wednesday, May 31, 2017

    Wednesday Words: My Lady Jane



    Happy Hump Day!


    It is the fifth Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another Wednesday Words, where I share with you all what I'm currently reading.




    Last week I started My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I met Jodi during last Fall's DVPit, and we've become good friends since, so I've heard about this book quite a lot. I've had it on my Kindle for quite some time, and I'm glad I finally got to it!


    I really like historical retellings, and MLJ has gone beyond my scope of those. Do they call it historical fantasy? I'm not sure. Either way, from the first page, I have laughed at least every other. It's witty, fun, and even at the sadder moments, there's comic relief soon to follow. Also, why don't people like redheads?! *huff*


    There are 491 pages in the Kindle edition, and Random.org has chosen page 118, which is 24% of the way into the book. So, let me backtrack to see what happened there.


    Last time, the change had been sudden, just a burst of light she hadn't expected, and when she'd finished blinking away the sparks, her husband had been a horse.


    Oh, right, I forgot to mention. If you know a little about King Henry VIII and his line, instead of the persecution of Protestants, in this story, magical animorphs called EÐians (pronounced EE-thee-uns, or something near it) are the ones being persecuted. I could see the Prologue play out so clearly, too. If you like comedy and twists on history, definitely pick this up.