Friday, November 27, 2015

Final Fantasy Friday: This is My Story (with gifs)

WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU'RE CURRENTLY
PLAYING FINAL FANTASY VII OR X FOR
THE FIRST TIME. SPOILER ALERT.


There is nothing more fun to me than a story I can personally interact with, and Final Fantasy has featured some of the greatest stories and backstories off all time. I'll talk briefly about two of the most painful stories: VII and X.


If you know anything about Final Fantasy, you know it became most popular because of Final Fantasy VII, and this game not only still has a huge following and marked the beginning of the Playstation Era, but it has two prequels, a spin-off, an anime, I think a manga, and a movie, which I'm definitely watching some time this weekend.

In the gif'ed scene above, Aeris (or Aerith, depending on who you ask), the world's sweetest character, is praying for a miracle, and as she finishes, down swoops Jenova (read up on Jenova if you want to see the kind of craziness that was going on here and how deep this story goes) masked as and controlled by Sephiroth, the most powerful member of SOLDIER, to stab her through the chest. I was in total shock the first time I played and crying the second time I tried to play. And you would THINK this is the saddest part of the FFVII series, but it's not.



We learn that Cloud, the main character, had a full breakdown due to OD'ing on Jenova cells, and while he and his bestie Zack, Aeris's boyfriend, are escaping the lab the evil SHINRA company have them in, Zack gets gunned down. You get to play this scenario out in FFVII: Crisis Core, and though you know it's going to happen, that doesn't make playing through it any better on the psyche! Just thinking of his face after that awful battle you get to play (as they slowly take away all of your abilities to actually fight), I can't breathe. It's the saddest story ever.

Nothing can come close to the depth of FFVII's stories, but man, did they try with my favorite game: FFX (and where today's subtitle comes from).

Listen to my story...This may be our last chance.
This one is a little easier to explain without a Wiki because I've played it 3 times and know it like the back of my hand. (Yes, I have a life. Why do you ask?)

Imagine a world at war, using all kinds of machinery called machina. In this world is Yu Yevon, a powerful wizard or Summoner. He wants to live forever and have all power over this world. Thus, he concocts this plan with his daughter, another powerful summoner, to create a monster that destroys an entire machina city, Xanarkand, and defeats the others fighting. He calls it Sin and claims Sin appeared because of the use of the machina, so you must now pray to Yu Yevon, for what, I have no idea; Sin still roams around killing the people. Machina is now forbidden, and to atone for and defeat Sin, a summoner must go on a quest to acquire spiritual creatures called Aeons (who are spirits of people who died during the war) on their way to Xanarkand. There, the summoner must sacrifice one of their guardians who came with and protected them on the journey, and this guardian becomes the summoner's Final Aeon, where upon defeating Sin, the Final Aeon is taken over by Yu Yevon, becomes a new Sin, and kills the summoner whom they were protecting in the first place. Irony.

Imagine this happening for 1,000 years.

Also imagine that there were survivors from Xanarkand, and these survivors, like those who gave up their souls to become Aeons, gave up their souls to create a dream of Xanarkand, as though there was never a war, and life continued as normal. Jecht, a world renown Blitzball player and terrible father, gets sucked out of this dream (I'm guessing by the will of those that are dreaming him) and washes up onto the shore of the real world and into the above-mentioned cycle. Knowing what happens, he sends his fellow guardian to the dream world to watch over his son until it's time to suck him out into the real world and stop the nonsense; ie., kill Sin, and then Yu Yevon before he can possess anyone else.


Imagine once more, that Final Fantasy creators have only completed one other main character love story happily in the entirety of this franchise until now.

Jecht's son Tidus and Yuna, the daughter of Jecht's summoner, eventually form a beautiful and pure love bond that comes to a head at the halfway point to Yuna's impending death, where she realizes she can't go with Tidus to his Xanarkand; she has to save the world for a little bit. Kissing in a frozen lake ensues, and it's just...magical.


Long story short, they defeat Sin/Jecht, have to kill all of the Aeons we spent the whole game collecting and falling in love with because Yu Yevon keeps possessing them when you summon them (the Aeons themselves tell you this will happen, because he can only possess Aeons), and then you finally kill Yu Yevon, ending the horrible thousand-year cycle of Sin...which means the people who were using all their energy to create the Aeons and the dream Xanarkand get to rest, so the dream Xanarkand fades, as does Tidus, who was part of the dream. And then the hug felt round the world ensues.


It might be because I'm a big Final Fantasy nerd, but it still breaks my heart! I think it broke the creators' hearts, too, because they gave us a sequel, which was bad, but it brought Tidus back to us as a gift for saving the world yet again, so I can't complain.

Well, that's all for this unintentionally long nerd post. lol I hope you enjoyed it. And since it was ultimately sad, here is FFVII's Cid with a bad lip-read and photoshopped banana.


Do you have any games you like to play or that have compelling story lines? I want to know!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

"Waaark! I'm not a turkey!"

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving Day.
Be grateful for all things, and don't stuff yourselves. Just the turkey. ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Words: Order of Seven by Beth Teliho



One more day. I'm quite sleepy, so hopefully my work day flies by. Or my CIO says to go home at 2:30 with pay. Let's go with that.

Either way, it's Wednesday again, and this day has become an assortment of things, for my blog. Today, I bring you what I'm finally reading. I have several e-books in waiting and one hard copy of Mindy McGinnis's new one that I am trying so hard not to open just yet, but it's so hard!

At the moment, I'm reading Order of Seven by Beth Teliho. Click the link for the blurb, but here is the cool cover.



Using Random.org, I will share with you all a piece of what I've read so far. There are 240 pages in my ebook, and I've gotten to 37th. Let me be nice and add the future to this wager. Between pages 1 and 50, Random has chosen page...46. Of course.

Baron releases my hand to retrieve his shirt and put it back on, and when he does the energy thrashes again.

Oh my. What's this now? lol I guess I'll know soon.

Reading anything good? Or bad? lol

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday Tales: The Spirits of the Willow Trees


Tuesdays are the day I have set aside to get my creative mind rolling by writing flash fiction. For the time being, these stories will be set in Teorre, the world of my current WIP, The Crystal Bearer. Once again using 200 Fantasy Writing Prompts by Matt Dellar, I found another one suited for a glimpse into the world of Teorre: Prompt 101. Your protagonist is a sentient tree. Though the trees aren't sentient in my story, they are sentient in stories within my story, so I shall give this a try.

The Spirits of the Willow Trees


Translated from the Sprityn poem “Llo Teospriesello” by Alyn of Westward Village

The Spirits of the Willow Trees
The White, the Blue, the Green
The loveliest of all the trees
That I have ever seen

Taller than a Trollic stands
Stronger than they fight

Unless you happen to forget
The weak vines of the White

If you climb her, prepare to fall
She’s delicate and for show
She will smile, laugh, and say, “Sweet fool,
How did you not yet know?”

Her branches break even for the Sprite
So do not try to climb the White.

Instead, do try her brother Blue
The oldest of the three
His vines indeed are strongest
And their hue a sight to see

He knows his leaves are rare on Teorre
And many come to meet him
He smiles, waves, and guides those who
Are eager to greet him

His branches, vines, and leaves are strong
Enough to hold a Gilla
He doesn’t even complain of them
What a kind and gentle willow!

And here is something else you’ll find
Pleasing to your ear
The Blue is not only very strong,
But resistant to all fire!

So know the Blue may be the best
If not, then at least the strongest

Blue and White live with the Bearers
To see them you must travel
We Sprites wouldn’t mind so much
But their shores are harsh with gravel

So though the ocean is between
We have their timid sister Green

Green has many sons on Teorre
Her branches strong, her vines are, too
She’s very quiet, but certain of
Her role for me and you

She gives her vines to everyone
Humans, Gillas, Hulks
The shiest of the Wills can house
Treesprites in her bulk

Baysprites boil her leaves for salve
Hillsprites wear her vines
Green doesn’t say much; she just smiles
And says, “Do take more. ‘Tis fine.”

Other Spirits try to copy her
She’s sweet and mellow natured
Though White is pretty and Blue is strong
Green is beautiful in stature

She grows the widest and spreads herself
For all races to see
If you asked me, I would say
Green is my favorite of the three

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fast Five Friday/Express Yourself Weekly

HAPPY FRIDAY! I've set aside Fridays for many a thing. Today, I bring you Fast Five Friday and Express Yourself Weekly. Both were created by the Cover Girls, Dani @ Entertaining Interests and Jackie @ Bouquet of Books. You can visit their blogs and join them for the fun any time!


This week's Fast Five is set aside for telling 5 things for which we are thankful.

1. God
2. Family
3. Football

(lol just kidding. Best Man Holiday reference. My real answers:)

1. God
2. Family
3. Music
4. Moments of inner peace
5. Creativity


This week, they also asked us to share a picture of something we treasure.

The heartbeat of Americaaaaa...
Every now and then, my niece gives me little trinkets that I hold onto. One year (I can't even remember which one) she gave me a U.S.A. key-chain that I still use, and she also gave me this little plastic heart that I keep on my desk at work.


What are you thankful for this week? Anything special that you treasure?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Words: What I Write

I forgot I created a logo for this day.


Happy Hump Day! Can you believe next week is THANKSGIVING? This year has flown by with a vengeance.

On another note, this blog is late because I woke up late and got to work 45 minutes behind schedule. Oy.

Anyway, while I said I would set aside 2-5th Wednesdays for what I'm reading, I thought I would use this post to share what I write for those who don't know.

I have been a speculative fiction writer for most of my writing life. Unlike many writers, I wasn't initially influenced by books I read, but by X-Men: The Animated Series and later (if you don't yet know) the Final Fantasy game franchise. It wasn't until my teen years that I started writing based on what I was reading, but I've also written fan fictions and poems based on music videos, songs, and another TV show from New Zealand called The Tribe (post-apocalyptic, parents are dead, kids rule the world. You can imagine).

While I dabble with contemporary pieces every now and then, I always return to speculative fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, horror. Those are my first loves. I have yet to finish a sci-fi (well, no actually, just one, but I lost it to an old computer) and haven't written horror in a long time, but I infused a little of it in my current work-in-progress. As a writer, I've always leaned more towards the dark side of fiction and am not at all turned off by disturbia. There is death in my stories, and there is almost always blood, but I would like to think there is also heart and light through it all. I never want to drag a reader down into the pits without pulling them back out into the sun.

So one day, when I'm finally published, I hope to have gained at least a few fans through this blog, and I thank you who have already followed this new incarnation.

More about my current WIP can be found up in my tabs under "The Crystal Bearer," and my last two Tuesday Tales directly link to the story.

Writers, what do you like to write? Readers, what do you like to read?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday Tales: Cyan



Tuesdays are the day I have set aside to get my creative mind rolling by writing flash fiction. For the time being, these stories will be set in Teorre, the world of my current WIP, The Crystal Bearer.

I looked up fantasy writing prompts this time and read through 200 by Matthew Dellar. Two were immediately salvageable for my benefit, so here is Prompt 45: The protagonist is a troll. Bonus points if he’s not the stereotype or the inversion of the stereotype. This one shows a little bit about one of my favorite character from my WIP, Ghuli's primary watchman, the hulktroll Cyan, how I imagine his selection to become her Junior Grade Lieutenant.


Cyan

The bell in the yard echoed through the air into the windows of the Trollic Watch Camp. Cyan scurried out to the yard with the other orphans and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his bunkmates. Their instructor paced quietly and patiently as the boys and girls continued to file in. At eight and a half heads high, Instructor Pell ensured the children all stood with their backs to the sun. Most of them had just reached five heads high, and the instructor was at the perfect height for the sun to loom over his head and blind them otherwise. The back of Cyan’s head nearly rested on the scruff of his neck as he gazed at Instructor Pell. At nearly six years old, Cyan was only four and a half heads high, short for his age, but his father once told him his older brother grew late and fast, so he could only hope the same was true for him. And he was stronger than many thought, which helped him survive when the taller kids tried to bully him.

“Hulks,” Instructor Pell barked, and Cyan and the other hulktrolls snapped their heels and fists together in quick succession.

“Sir!”

“At your ease.” They relaxed back into their ready positions, hands at their sides, shoulders back and chins up. Instructor Pell walked with his hands behind him, barrel chest out while he looked at the ground far below his eyes. “I am very proud of the lot of you. By enduring your training these last two months, you all have proved to me that you will grow up to be fine soldiers and watchmen. And one of you doesn’t have to wait that long.”

An ensign brought Instructor Pell a folder, and as he read it, a soft smile tweaked his stern, square face. “Cyan of Clossius.”

Cyan’s eyes widened. The awestruck eyes of the other boys and girls suddenly bore into him. Instructor Pell nodded and waved him forward. Cyan took two quick steps out of the ranks.

“Congratulations. You are to continue your training on the Island Continent under 1st Lt. Aleksandyr of Viveno Island. He picked you personally to be his Junior Grade Lieutenant. You leave at sunrise.”

“But…” Cyan bit his tongue. He didn’t like to speak out of term, even if he was about to be the youngest watchman in the history of The Watch. The moment still warranted decency and order.

“Go on, son. Speak freely.”

Cyan hesitated. “But why me?”

Instructor Pell put a firm hand on his shoulder. “You doubt yourself, but you have the highest marks from all of the instructors. 1st Lt. Aleksandyr requested you with the utmost enthusiasm, and I think he couldn’t have done better. Whoever your watch is, you are going to do your best by them without question. Be strong, and make us proud.”

Cyan swallowed. He could hardly believe his ears. A few weeks away from six years old, and he already had a job. “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fast Five Friday: Writing Tips



Dear God, it's finally Friday! After having Wednesday off, Thursday was Monday.

It's time for a Fast Five run! Fast Five Fridays are created by the Cover Girls, Dani and Jax, and you can visit them anytime to see the list of questions as well as their answers!

This week, in honor of NaNoWriMo, they would like us to provide 5 tips for writing. I'll give it a try!

1. Write what you love.
2. Never give up.
3. Always keep learning.
4. Don't try to be any other writer but YOU.
5. Love what you write.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Veterans' Day



From my SOLDIERs to yours: have a happy Veterans' Day, and thank you for all you do for our country and the world.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday Tales: The Watcher




Tuesdays are the day I have set aside to get my creative mind rolling by writing flash fiction. For the time being, these stories will be set in Teorre, the world of my current WIP, The Crystal Bearer.

I didn't need a prompt for this one. It came to me at random, and this one is directly related to my WIP, as it centers around a memory my MC Ghuli had. The point of view, however, is a little different. :)


The Watcher

Today, I am three years old. I am finally a woman! I can’t wait for all of my fur to come in. Momma has a long, beautiful coat, and her tail is even bushier than Poppa’s. I try to walk the way she does, so elegant and light. The little Princess is laughing at me from the nurse’s lap. I guess I don’t quite yet have the grace.

“Daughter,” Momma says as she peeks into the room, “look after the Princess. Your father and I must patrol with the watchmen.”

My heart leaps in my chest, but I try to contain my excitement. My first assignment as a woman! “Yes, Momma.”

Momma leaves me with the Princess and her nurse, and I am ready. I will not let my parents down. I pace the length of the room, this little secret room within the temple on the hill. The curly-furred Human brings the Princess here when he is teaching the little Trollic. A severe one he is, but he scratches my ears in just the right place, so I like him.

The nurse has set the Princess down, and she is coming to me. She tries to straighten her back legs to walk like me, but her backside is heavy, and she falls over. Though her face is brown and her top fur blacker than the night sky, her paws look like mine: white and fluffy with indistinguishable fingers. The nurses call them mittens. A strange name for paws. In a few months, the Princess will walk on her back paws. How do Humans balance so well?

The Princess walks towards the entrance. The nurse is patching up one of the Princess’s outer furs, so she doesn’t notice. This is my chance! I follow the Princess out into the library, where she picks up the pace. I don’t realize her destination until she is but three steps from the fire!

“No, Princess!” I cry, but she won’t understand me until years from now, so I leap across the room and remember her scruff is not her neck, but her outer fur, where the little X is made by the cut of it. The heat is strong on my face when I grab the outer fur in my teeth and pull the Princess away.

“What is…Oh!” I turn to trot back towards the nurse, who has come at my cry, and she kneels to pet me and take the Princess. “Thank you. Princess, you cannot scare us like that.”

Indeed. My heart is pounding, and when we return to the room, I immediately lie down. I am done being a woman today. It is too much work.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Final Fantasy Friday: Give It Our All


Welcome to my very first Final Fantasy Friday post!

As my Cover Girls are on break for NaNo (at least I think they are), the next few weeks will be dedicated to sharing with my readers the inspiration behind my current WIP, The Crystal Bearer.

Not so ironic:

Something I was asked a couple of times: "If it's Final Fantasy, how come there are so many?" To be honest, I didn't know the answer for a long time, but the creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, explained it perfectly:

After switching over to the Famicom, there was a time when I wasn't happy with anything I was creating. I thought of retiring from the game industry and I created Final Fantasy as my final project. That's why the title includes the word 'final' but for me, the title 'Final Fantasy' reflects my emotional state at the time and the feeling that time had stopped. They say that technologically, it's good to keep going, and each time, we give it our all and expend our skills and energy until we can go no further; this is what I consider to be the 'final fantasy'. ("Final Fantasy Celebrates its 25th Birthday, Gadgets Magazine, December 2012)

And what a great piece of encouragement, too! Keep going and give it your all!

And now, a fight class from the original Final Fantasy:

Warrior (Fighter) — A specialist in heavy weapons and armor who can withstand tremendous amounts of punishment (hm...Sounds like a writer). Can become the Knight later in the game, who is able to use the most powerful weapons and some White Magic spells.

Warriors of the Write...unite!

Have you heard of Final Fantasy? How do you feel about what Hironobu said?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is brought to us by the great writing sensei, Alex J. Cavanaugh and supported by a monthly team of awesome ninjas who help visit us all and send us words of encouragement. Be sure to visit the website and join us!

Sweet, sweet November. Hello, everyone. This is my first IWSG post on my new blog domain! If you haven't visited me before, I decided a couple of weeks ago to change my focus entirely on my blog after a summer hiatus where I had only decided to reorganize. It wasn't sitting well with me, so I'm going to do what I can to get my mind focused on writing again by getting my blog focused on it as well. Let's hope this works.

Anyone doing NaNoWriMo? How are you doing? On Oct. 25th (the day I actually composed this post), the jury was still out on whether or not I wanted to try this year or not. I have some stories that need to be written, so who's to say? Those of you who are in it to win it this year, good luck, and happy writing!

Anyone NOT doing NaNoWriMo? What are your plans this month? Are you currently working on something? Do your best, and don't worry if you're not working on something. If you're a writer, something will hit you eventually, guaranteed!

Have a great month, everyone!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tuesday Tales: The Lesson


Tuesdays are the day I have set aside to get my creative mind rolling by writing flash fiction. For the time being, these stories will be set in Teorre, the world of my current WIP, The Crystal Bearer.

Googling writing prompts returns a lot of options, and if you know me, you know I like to keep it simple, so I visited creativewritingprompts.com and hovered over their many numbers until I found one I wanted to try. Creative Writing Prompt #27 said to write a story about an empty glass, and I instantly thought of a good flash fiction for this. So away we go!


The Lesson

“You can do it, Devi,” Manael said to his son, pacing slowly behind him to watch.

Devien tensed his jaw as he focused again on the empty glass. Minutes had passed, but the crystals in his hands remained dormant, not one shred of light sparking within them. He smacked the table and stood back.

“How am I supposed to be an elder like you if I can’t even make water?” he asked.

Manael chuckled. “You are only five years old, son. Worry about making six.”

Devien grumbled under his breath. He was too serious for a child, but his father understood he was to blame. Manael had been just the same at Devien’s age. Had it not been for his own father, he would have never learned to lighten up. It was up to him to do the same for his son.

“Come here,” Manael said and crouched down to meet his dejected child. “Close your eyes and take a long, deep breath.” Devien pursed his lips, and his little eyebrows drew together. “Go on. Do as I say.” Devien closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “You cannot do this on your own. You need to channel Teorre’s Energy, feel it all around you…but before that, there is something you must do.”

In one quick move, he scooped his son up into his hands and swung him through the air. Devien gasped and opened his eyes wide, but it had the desired effect. Devien laughed, his large eyes closing again but with sheer, youthful mirth. Manael laughed, too, happy to see the smile on his son’s face. He set Devien back on his feet and cuffed his shoulders.

“You must relax. Now try again.”

Devien nodded, turned to the empty glass, and put his hands on the table. He took a deep breath and sighed, took another deep breath and sighed again. Manael resumed his slow pacing behind his son, but he stopped when a dim light flickered in Devien’s crystals. First one drop of water formed inside the glass, then another, and more until a small rainstorm filled the glass. Devien looked to his father with wide eyes and an even wider smile.

“I did it!” he said as he ran to Manael for a big hug.

“Yes, you did,” Manael said. He kissed the top of his head and patted his back. “Well done.”