Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday Tales: Sitting Down with Andyrsn

Fortunately, it's still Tuesday!

I just remembered that I'm supposed to be posting today. It's been a busy one for me! I hope everyone is getting some warm weather. It hit the 70s here today, and for once, I don't mind it in the Winter. This one was HARSH.

Anyway, I was asking some character questions, and I think I'll choose Andyrsn to answer this time around.

Hey, guys!

What words or phrases do you overuse?Andyrsn: I don't know if I have one that I use too much . . . I think I have more physical quirks than verbal. I scratch my head when I'm nervous or feeling awkward. I try not to do it, but at this rate it can't be helped.

How do you display affection?
Andyrsn: I'm a hugger. I'm from Viveno Island. It can't be helped.

How do you want to be seen by others?
Andyrsn: I'd like to hope I'm living up to my dad's legacy. He was such an icon, though, so I can't be sure. I at least want people to see me as a good man.

How do you think others see you?
Andyrsn: They think I goof off too much, I'm sure. I just like to keep the mood light. If it involves a prank or two, hopefully they laughed.

How do you react to praise?
Andyrsn: I don't know if it's just me, or maybe it's a Watchman thing, but I'd rather not be put on the spot. I mean, I'd say thank you, but I never know how to act after, and my segues aren't the greatest, so it just gets weird.

How do you react to criticism?
Andyrsn: Now that is something I can work with. It helps me improve, so I like to hear it. Bring on whatever you've got.

What is your perception of family?
Andyrsn: My family is everything to me. My brothers have been all I've had for years, and I know they'd do just about anything for me and the other way around. Where we come from, you've really gotta appreciate who you have because they can be gone the next minute.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Andyrsn: Crazy that I would have to say this, but loosen up! You'll grow into your . . . everything! Just be more confident and let loose.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday Words: My New Project!

It's after 10 am, which I guess is normally the time I remember I forgot to post, so good morning! I set aside the 2nd Wednesday of each month to share what I am writing and/or reading. Today, I am going to share a piece of the YA/NA project I've begun working on (that magical princesses one I keep ranting about). It has a few kinks in it (I've almost successfully forced myself not to go back and touch anything yet because of NaNoWriMo. I was just trying to get words onto pages), but it's still exciting that I'm moving onto new work again. The tentative title is The Queen's Daughters, and here is a snippet from the chapter "The Festival."

Also, just for some context, my MC Ash and her sisters have been paraded back to their father's castle with their dead mother to a celebration of their "return home." Ash's power (she can conceal herself, her thoughts, and/or her feelings so no one else can see or detect her/them) isn't noticeable in this scene, but her sister Naiyalah's comes into play: she can both take in thoughts and emotions and project her own onto others.


“My darling girls,” our father says softly. He looks at each of us in turn, and his eyes mist over before he blinks them dry. “I am glad you have returned to me.”

Words lodge in my throat, as they should. Instead of what I want to say, I follow my sisters and kneel, head bowed, hands folded demurely in my lap. He comes to Zuraiyah first, lifts her chin and guides her to her feet.

“My beauty,” he says and kisses her left cheek. “Welcome.” Then her right. “Welcome.”

“Thank you, Auba,” she says in a small voice.

We didn’t have to speak small with our mother.

He moves to Naiyalah next. She is “his purpose.” A kiss on her cheeks, a welcome for each as well.

I close my eyes for the briefest of moments before his touch to my chin. I open my eyes and stand. Of the five of us, I have his face. He always smiles proudly at that. I did too, once. I am his favorite. There has never been any denial of that.

“Ashula,” he says even more softly. “My love.”

Another pulse of calm from Naiyalah when I just want to explode and burn the whole world and curl up and cry.

“Auba,” I manage to say.

He cups my face and kisses my forehead. “Welcome home.”

“Thank you.”

He pulls both Babri and Katri up and wraps his arms around them, kissing Babri’s head, then Katri’s. “Welcome home, my sweet girls.”

They were six years old when we first returned. They had both cried and whined and held onto our mother as the royal guards came for us. Never having met our father, they couldn’t understand why our mother was sending us all away. Now, after seven years of visits, his pampering, and none of the memories of before, they aren’t quite old enough to hate this man the way the rest of us do.

Or at least the way I do.

I close my eyes again, take a deep breath. I must. We still have hours to go in this long, awful night.

“The Heavens have blessed us with my daughters’ return,” he calls to the crowd behind us. “Let us praise them and welcome peace back to our land.”

We turn towards the masses as they take up their cheering and singing once again, as the drums bounce off of the walls and more wine is poured before the festivities resume. We have done our part to mingle, and so we may return to our platform. Our father has already moved onto his, just above us. As we climb the stairs, we each must meet his eyes and bow our head. He smiles and does the same. Fortunately, we do not have to smile this time, although I’m certain we’re supposed to be at our height of revelry by this time. I can no longer muster the strength for it anyhow. I simply nod and return to my throne.

Once we are all seated, the steward returns, after once again tasting his wine before the guards, to refill our chalices. He bows and pours. He clears this throat as he stands straight and moves on to me. Beads of sweat form on his brow as he pours my wine. When he straightens his back again, his body stiffens. With one wispy gasp, he collapses dead at my feet.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Insecure Writers Support Group

It's 6PM on the first Wednesday of the month, and that means I've forgotten to post this morning.

I hope everyone's had a good day. Are you writing anything new? Reading anything exciting? I just opened my package with Maurene Goo's I Believe in A Thing Called Love and am expecting Dhonielle Clayton's The Belles to arrive any hour now! I'm almost finished with Fourteen Hundred Cowries and Other African Tales, and so I hope to be able to read the next book more quickly.

I'm working steadily on a new project, which I'm excited about. It's a YA/NA fantasy with African influences. I hope it works out. Yesterday, I started seeing what Fractured Princess looks like in 1st Person Present Tense, as it's the only one I  haven't tried out yet. Wish me luck!

I'm also on the lookout for a new job. I don't have the will to get up in the morning for the one I currently have, and I feel bad that I prayed for a full-time job and can't enjoy the one I was given. Lesson learned. A few new jobs have caught my eye, though, so I'm working myself up to apply. One is a Proofreading job, but it's also a contract position. The other is a job at a new state division that really catches my eye, but it's less money than I make right now, and I'm already struggling. I'll figure out what to do.

Have a great month! Hope to see you around.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Words: Fourteen Hundred Cowries and Other African Tales

It is the last Wednesday in January; can you believe it?!

It's also the 5th Wednesday in the month, which means another glimpse into what I am reading! I'm doing research for a new NA/Adult fantasy project, and the research entails looking into African literature. I was really excited to find my library network had a few books, and the first one I'm reading is Fourteen Hundred Cowries and Other African Tales by Abayomi Fuja.

 I'm really excited by the stories I've read so far. We don't get the chance to learn about these tales in school unless you take a college course, but if only people could see more origin tales and mythologies from outside of Europe! These tales are clever, funny, and a little dark. There are a few fables I never would have heard about had I not picked up the book. One tale in particular that sparked my interest, "The Twins"--because I have an infatuation with twins and like to put them in my stories--had an interesting plot featuring the revenge of a sea monster's mother. Sound familiar?

There are tales explaining why leopards have their spots, why the ega bird isn't hard pressed to have its young taken away by hawks (that one was funny), and tales that show just how clever tortoises are (I love turtles and tortoises). It's a fast read, so if you get a chance, I urge you to take a day or two to read these tales.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Final Fantasy Friday: FFIX's Dagger and My Jonnie

Happy Friday!

On the last Friday of the month, I geek out about anything Final Fantasy. If you don't already know, my YA fantasy project Fractured Princess is an homage to the franchise, and I use influences from the games in my story. One such is Princess Garnet, aka Dagger from Final Fantasy IX.

My main character Jonnie is based on Dagger. I was playing FFIX when I started writing FP. Dagger was a very proper, very na├»ve princess who wanted to figure out what was up with her mother who had basically lost her mind and was attacking other kingdoms. It was hard for Dagger to fit into the general public because she spoke so properly, so there were many moments where she practiced speaking like her laid-back, sarcastic co-MC Zidane, an actor/hired thief. Still, she often got herself into more trouble than she could handle because she'd been shut up in the castle all of her life and didn't understand the world.

This is one of the first concept drawings I had for Jonnie, back before I changed the color of the Crystal Bearers. When I first wrote Jonnie, she spoke super properly. When I think about it now, I cringe. I was trying really hard to go for that Euro-medieval dialect, and it was terrible. She was also very sheltered and child-like, but unlike Dagger, Jonnie was a very reactionary character, only acting when things happened to her. Dagger had a solid motivation before we even knew what it was: she was going to escape the castle to get help for her mother (what she didn't know was that her uncle Cid had hired Zidane's crew to kidnap/rescue her, but it worked out perfectly).

I had to get Jonnie to that point of being proactive, find out what she wanted before all hell broke loose and how it would fuel her motivation once everything went left. In the last couple of revisions, I decided that instead of just wanting to survive (because that's super basic), Jonnie would want to learn to fight off danger alongside her watchmen. Subconsciously, I continued to model her after Dagger, who refused to sit by the sidelines as the world around her fell apart. Both girls have an overbearing protector over them, though Steiner is FAR more annoying than Cyan, but they're not afraid to butt heads with them to reach their goal, and that makes for interesting princesses and much rounder stories.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday Tales: Sitting Down with Jonnie

It is time for the first Tuesday Tales of 2018! I have set aside the 3rd Tuesday of the month to share tales about my project Fractured Princess and speak to the characters when they a moment free. I liked the questions I had Jonnie and Cyan answer about Cyan last month, so I thought I would have Jonnie answer them about herself this time around. Let's see what she has to say.

Hi again!

Hi, Jonnie.

What words or phrases do you overuse?
Jonnie: Well, I suppose I always counter my own thoughts, so I say "howbeit" more than most. I like to see both sides to an argument, howbeit. Damn it all!

How do you display affection?
Jonnie: Though I make sure I know them very well before I do so, I like to hold hands or hug. It makes me feel warm.

How do you want to be seen by others?
Jonnie: I want others to see me as strong, independent.

How do you think others see you?
Jonnie: Hm . . . I believe most see me as child-like, certainly carefree.

How do you react to praise?
Jonnie: I love it! *laughs* I don't have many chances to try things out for myself, so when I'm doing well, I love the encouragement.

How do you react to criticism?
Jonnie: I don't love it as much, but I understand its necessity. If no one ever corrected anyone, where would we be?

What is your perception of family?
Jonnie: Family is . . . the people you would die for, and the people without whom you would die anyway.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Jonnie: Never look back. Always move forward. You can do it.

That's all from Jonnie for this week. I hope it's warmed up for some of you. We've gone from single digits and below-zero winds to a pleasant 27 degrees. Ha!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday Words: Shades in Shadow by N.K. Jemisin

Happy Hump Day!

Is this week dragging for anyone else?? Maybe it's just that slow so I'd remember to post. I set aside the second Wednesday of the month to share with you all what I'm reading or writing. I've written up a storm the past couple of days, and on different projects, so that's always a good thing. I'm also reading poetry at the moment, and I don't feel like sharing that.

What I will share, though, is what I read last week, and that was N.K. Jemisin's Shades in Shadow, three short stories preceding the stories in the Inheritance Trilogy.

Anything N.K. writes about Yeine, Nahadoth, Itempas, and anyone else in that world, I'm here for. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was my first taste of her writing, and I was hooked for life. These short stories especially make me want to reread the trilogy sometime this year. I'll share a piece from "The God Without A Name," a glimpse into the life of Nahadoth's human prison after Yeine freed him and made the prison its own half-god person (Hado in The Broken Kingdoms, Ahad in The Kingdom of Gods).

"How's my other half?" he asks, to be cruel and to distract himself. "You and Nahadoth getting along? His black hole finding your balance beam with no trouble and all that?"

She chuckles. "You're very predictable. He doesn't ask about you at all, you know. Why would he?"

She takes off, running into the ocean and jumping gleefully into a wave that is cresting near the shore. He leaves while she's preoccupied so she won't she how much her words have hurt him.

I like this moment because he tries really hard to act like he hates Yeine and Nahadoth, but it's clear he doesn't.

What are you all reading this week?