Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Tales: New First 350



It's been ages (or at least 2 months) since I last did a Tuesday Tales. I've set the 2nd Tuesday after IWSG aside for Character Q&As, short stories, and conversations with my characters. This time around, I will share the new first 350 words of my manuscript Fractured Princess, which has had a big change to establish Ghuli's wants and needs. I hadn't really delved into them before, but I'm participating in a critique group over at Agent Query Connect, and they've really helped me think deeper about making Ghuli more active. It's a fun opening. Most drafts, Ghuli is just playing in the trees, but this time, she's doing something a little more serious.


So, without further ado, here we go.


-----------




I usually went to the Forest of Weeping Willows whenever I needed a moment of peace. Space would have also been nice. My adopted brother and Watchman Cyan only stood a couple hundred yards away on the Eastern Road, pretending to give me time to myself before we went to the market. Apparently, my turning seventeen meant nothing to him. I was old enough to know how far away from the manor to go, which engine sounds to listen for. I wasn’t going to let one of the Contagion catch me off guard.


I shuddered at the thought.


All right. Cyan could stay.


Howbeit, if a vicious stray elk happened by, I could fight it myself. I looked down at the pages of fighting techniques on the tree stump to my right, committed the moves to memory, and focused on the three knotted ropes of willow switches in front of me. Crystal Soldiers had been known for their graceful fighting techniques. As a Crystal Bearer, something in me had to be graceful, too.


I pushed the willow ropes in different directions so they would swing back and forth. Then, I unsheathed the branch I had tucked into my sleeve, advanced on the nearest rope as it swung back towards me, and thrust at the central knot. Its leaves rustled as it bounced against my makeshift sword. I pushed it again and pivoted around the second rope swinging back at me from the right. I slashed at its back then spun around to perform what the pages called an empty fade and attack--one leap back, guard, one larger leap forward, thrust--against the third rope. I was certain Crystal Soldiers leapt higher. I could work on it.


“Ghuli,” Cyan called.


“Still here,” I called back as I kicked the rope away.


I glimpsed the first switches returning and tried the jump spin I’d studied. Several leaves fluttered off their switches with my overhand slash. As I reveled in my successful attack, the second group of switches bumped into my back. I sighed.


“And now I’m dead.”



Friday, August 11, 2017

Final Fantasy Friday: I Finished FFXV

Me on Monday: I should schedule my post.
Me on Tuesday: I start my post. Friday will be here before I knowit.
Me on Wedensday: I should write my post tomorrow.
Me on Thursday: ....
Me on Friday: Oh, crap, my post!






So, I'm bad at this. haha This is usually the week I share what I'm reading with you, but I hadn't picked up The Handmaid's Tale for about two weeks, so I needed to finish that (thank God, I finished it. It was blah), BUT last Saturday, I took the time to finish Final Fantasy XV which, because I was Level 72, took me about an hour, less time than it took me to fight the adamantoise (which took me close to 3 hours).








As I explained in my post about the homages in this game (CLICK), Noctis is told he has to sacrifice himself to get light back into the world. That takes 10 years, so he comes out looking like a cleaner version of this. We had just fought Ifrit here, so he's a little covered in smoke and ash. He's telling his friends to walk tall (though they also don't make it, which I didn't realize until I read someone's explanation of the ending), and he goes inside to fight the darkness, Ardyn Izunia, formerly known as Ardyn Lucis Caelum, Noct's millions-great-grandfather or uncle, something close.


Long story short, Ardyn was supposed to be king thousands of years ago, but he was used to destroy daemons by sucking them into his soul, and he because he was corrupted, he was basically banished. So, obviously, he wants vengeance on the kingdom of Lucis, which he successfully starts at the beginning of the game by having King Regis killed.


I'm awesome, so I defeated Ardyn with no problems lol. But dear God, the end sequences. With a nod to FFVII's Knights of the Round, the past kings, Noct, Luna, Gladio, Prompto, and Ignis all ban together in the afterlife to get rid of Ardyn for good, and the World of Ruin (another nod to FFVI) finally ends after 10 years. The credits roll, and we get a conversation around the campfire that brings me to tears. Of course, it's the first time Noct has seen his friends in 10 years, and then, they're on their last mission together before they all go off to die.



Even with the hundreds of side quests, I give this game a 10. Not an FFX 10, but a solid 10 nonetheless lol. The graphics were gorgeous, the music was awesome. I loved the bond the guys had (seeing them do special link attacks together made me so giddy), and because there are so many other things attached to this game (Kingslaive, Carnival, Episodes), I love the versatility. I even liked the battle system, and I'm very pro-turn based fighting.

I could see a sequel coming from this, but God, I hope they don't do it. Maybe another movie, where we know what happens now that there is no king anymore. I want to know how the world can go on. I could see them worshiping Noct and Luna, and they have the ability to appear at will. Mainly because of the last video clip they gave us to send off the end of the game. Screenshot here:



They finally get to be together. My heart. Be still.

I can also see this being the last game of the franchise. They did so many homages and CDs we could listen to of the old games. It was epic, and I don't think they would be able to top this one with another game. It's the best one since X. I'll play again eventually. Not for a few years, though. It took a toll on my spirit. lol

Once you finish, you get an updated logo on the main screen, where it used to just be the girl, you realize after the above sequence, that it's Luna. Then, Noct's little sleepy body appears, and Fin. *sigh* Such a good game. I'm going to play the end again just because. :)



In my next Final Fantasy Friday, I should have played Episode Gladiolus and at least started Episode Prompto, so I'll let you know how those turned out.


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

IWSG: Happy August!


I almost forgot it was time for IWSG! Last month went by so quickly.

I had a very chill birthday with a road trip to Tennessee before it and a trip to our state's only ramen shop after it. I didn't even have cake. But mochi ice cream is amazing.

We're at the halfway point of Agent Query Connect's Speculative Fiction Group's Summer Marathon, and I can't believe the things I've been able to change in my manuscript. It's inspiring. I hope this is my last draft before an agent says yes, though.

I hope everyone else enjoyed their July. I miss it already...but I don't miss the heat.

This month's optional question is: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

I hate coming across something when editing that not only is a continuity error but that I have to do a huge overhaul on a portion of the story to fix. It makes me mad at myself. I had to take an entire scene out of my story because of a very obvious geographical error I made on a world I made up. Who does that?!

Feel free to join us in this blog hop at the IWSG Website and be sure to visit our lead Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh and the co-hosts for the month. Hope to see some of you soon!

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.

    Friday, May 26, 2017

    Final Fantasy Friday


    Happy Friday!

    It is the last Friday of May already, so that means I am bringing you some Final Fantasy obsessions.

    So, the thing they tell you about Final Fantasy XV is that it's a game about friendship and brotherhood. Yada yada yada. What they DO NOT tell you is how fricking depressing it is!

    I'm two chapters away from the end (tired of doing side quests, so I'm just gunning it until I'm not strong enough to beat something and have to go do a couple side quests), and here is a list of things that have happened to me: Noctis, Prince of Lucis.

    1. My father, the king, is assassinated (I knew this already because Sean Bean is the English voice actor, and he dies in everything, but still).
    2. Our country is taken over.
    3. I find this all out by reading a newspaper that says my father, my fiance, and I have all died, so when I call home, they're like, "Well, your dad is dead."
    4. When I finally get up with my fiance, she gets stabbed, and the Hydrean Leviathan drowns her! (See R.I.P. My Fiance for the graphics.)
    5. My guardian/chef is blinded in battle.
    6. My guardian/trainer acts like I'm being a spoiled brat and not manning up. (Bitch, my dad and my fiance have died in the span of like, a week!)
    7. My best friend gets kidnapped by the man who killed my fiance (oh, and he also kills my fiance's brother!).

    I can't imagine what else happens! And this chapter I'm currently in trying to save Prompto (my best friend), it's SO dark and scary! Rogue robots are jumping out and grabbing me, then exploding, daemons are popping up, and the murderer is taunting me over a loud speaker every few minutes.

    I can't take it!

    But anyway, here are some screenshots I took. lol



    Have a great Memorial Day Weekend! Hug a soldier, think of those who died for freedom. <3

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Tuesday Tales: Hidden Facts with Ghuli


    It's the third Tuesday of the month again! This has been a long four weeks. For a second I could neither remember what I posted last month nor think of anything to post for this one. Then, I remembered Q&As and went to searching. I stumbled upon these Character Development Questions. One that struck me that a few of my main characters from Fractured Princess could answer was: What facts about your characters do they prefer to keep hidden?

    Let's start with Ghuli and see how far we get.


    Oh, my. Well . . . There is a part of me that I have unfortunately kept hidden even from myself. To explain how I've done it will be a very long story. Just know that deep within me lies a fearsome temper. I wish it were blind, blackout anger, but it is an anger throughout which I am always conscious, therefore I always remember. While it is rare for anything to anger me so strongly, when it happens, it is quite disastrous.

    ----

    I hope I created a bit of mystery.

    This is as far as I'm getting today (the evening before this is posted). I just finished the Once Upon A Time season finale and learned Jennifer, Ginnifer, Josh, et freaking al aren't returning for the seventh season, so I'm beside myself. I also have to rewatch because I wasn't paying attention to the little girl in the Enchanted Forest. *sigh*

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017

    Wednesday Words: Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope



    It's the second Wednesday of MAY, can you believe it?! That means, it's time for Wednesday Words, where I share with you what I'm reading and/or writing.

    I've actually been doing a little writing in my series for Fractured Princess. I have another CP from the AQC, and he's helped me see little things that had been plaguing me but I needed confirmation. I'm glad I went back to AQC. It had been a while. I'm also trying to write in Divided Princess, and I found myself writing even more for what will either open the third act of DP or the first act of Broken Princess, what I'm calling the third book if it comes down me writing one. I now understand why Natalie Whipple only gave us two Transparent books. lol

    I've also started reading L. Penelope's Song of Blood & Stone. Here is the AMAZING cover.


    I've been waiting to read this for so long. It was the Winner of the 2016 Self-Publishing Ebook Award for Best Fiction, which is so cool. I'm really enjoying it so far. Here is a little more about it on Goodreads.

    There are 252 pages in the Kindle version, so let's see what Random.org wants me to share with you all....Page 206 (Come on, man). Yeah, I definitely just spoiled something for myself. Maybe I'll forget by the time I get there.

    "What have I done, Usher? The woman I love in the dungeons. Allowing the refugees to be sent back. What does this make me?"

    "It makes you a prince."

    Well then! What are you reading this week?

    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    IWSG: It's Already May?!


    It is MAY!

    It is also 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 is that time of the year where time flies. It's not only May already, it's also 6PM now, and I usually do these in the morning or the night before. But I was busy with work. Blugh. So, this will be quick.

    I hope those who did the A to Z Challenge enjoyed themselves and made friends. I enjoyed my vacation but had a cold, and then came back to mayhem, so I need another vacation. I'm two weeks away from applying to a job in the IT Department and praying they give me the job and the midpoint salary. Patience isn't my best virtue, but I'm hanging on.

    How's everyone else doing?

    Friday, April 28, 2017

    Final Fantasy Friday: RIP My Fiance!


    It's the last Friday of the month, which means it's time for Final Fantasy Friday!

    Also, I enjoyed my vacation but got hit with my allergies and a cold, so I need another vacation where I can sleep through the night without not being able to breathe. I wanted to play a little more of FFXV before I left and didn't get to, but I did get to spend some time on it when I got home.

    Most people who run out and by these games spend the weekend or a whole week or so playing it. I have a some semblance of a life, so I don't have that luxury. Thus, the portion of the game I finally got to play was spoiled for me by fans weeks ago: my (Noctis's) fiance, Lunafreya, dies helping me retrieve Leviathan, long story short a summon. The papers say Luna died drowning, but I witnessed her get stabbed by a shady NPC we'd run into a few times! My sister, who was watching, was just as shocked as I was!

    First off, Leviathan had an attitude. I guess because she was asleep and Luna woke her, but I needed her to chill. The battle was quite scary, as she kept diving in and out of the water and coming straight for me with her mouth agape! I actually screamed and then laughed at myself.

    Secondly, the visuals in this game are just everything. Here is the saddest cutscene since Tidus's death/disappearance in FFX. Notice the different shifts, first the atmosphere, then Noct's shift from young Noct to current Noct. It's so wild! The scene is also very reminiscent of Aeris's death in FFVII. The homages!


    I have a few more chapters before I finish the game. I might be done with side quests for now, lol. That's where most of my hours have been spent! I just want to get to the end, so I can play the DLC for Gladio!

    Have a great weekend!

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Tuesday Tales: Creation Stories


    I am most likely just waking up on Cruise Day 3, but vacations don't stop blog posts! Because of scheduling. lol

    On the 3rd Tuesday of the month, I have shares stories, character conversations, and poems from the world of my manuscript. Way back when I started writing Fractured Princess, my goal was to write a standalone book, no sequels, no prequels, nothing. Just one story. THEN, I started writing little short stories based on stories Ghuli had read. Then, I had an idea for a prequel. And THEN, ideas for a sequel popped into my head. Stupid gears turning in my head.

    As I work on the plot of this story, which is coming much easier than the first one, I am begrudged to say, I also developed three origin theories for the world of Teorre. They open the sequel, so I thought I would share them with you all.



    The Falcon Origin

    (This theory is also from where we get the story of the Dove’s Tail Constellation)

    Before we began, Teorre was uninhabited, devoid of any structure or natural resource. Above Teorre floated the Energy, which kept the planet turning in the skies. As time passed it by, the Energy decided it wanted to do more with the planet. And so, the Energy split itself into parts.

    A portion joined Teorre and began to create earth and stone out of the surface. Next, it cracked the earth and filled the void with water for nourishment. The sun above further nurtured the wet earth, and plants began to grow. Pleased with this, the Energy molded the plants into different shapes and sizes, colors and textures.

    Another portion wanted to live among these new plants and reshaped itself into falcons. They flew above and oversaw the land, living among the trees when they needed rest. As time passed, some of the falcons decided they wanted to walk among the land. And so, they reshaped themselves again. Their feathers fell off, and their bodies grew tall, their legs long. They became the First.

    #

    The Quickening Theory

    Before we began, Teorre was uninhabited, devoid of life but made of solid earth. Within Teorre, willing it to move and remain in the air, was the Energy. It pushed against the surface of Teorre as a growing child within its mother, stretching the planet until it finally began to crack. As the Energy met the air, it melted in ecstasy and burst forth from its lifeless prison. It fell back to Teorre as the first rain, rose again and fell again, until the cracks in the earth filled with water.

    The earth, delighted in this interaction with Teorre’s Energy, began to soften and grow life. Some stood still, except to grow tall and blossom with the sun’s rays. Others moved around on the surface, happy to stay close to their creator but wanting to explore the reaches of the land. Others dwelled in the waters of Teorre’s Energy, wanting to be within the rain that caused their creation. Others wanted to roam the air above the earth and water, and so they flew about, happily returning to their parents when they grew tired.

    And when Teorre’s Energy was happy with the children it had made, it created again: the First People, to watch over all its older siblings. Teorre’s Energy, tired from all it had done, returned to its now-open prison within the earth, to rest there until their children needed it again.

    #

    The Crystal Formation Theory

    Before we began, the sun was young, and Teorre floated around it, uninhabited, but encrusted with minerals and elements. As the sun grew, its energy desired more room to grow and settled around the atmosphere of Teorre. Heated by the sun, the energy began to react with the minerals and elements, and crystals formed. The energy gravitated to these crystals and gained more sentience and cognizance by dwelling within them. Through the crystals, the energy decided to shape the other elements into different creatures and plants, into air and into water it envisioned through each different crystal it inhabited.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    Wednesday Words: The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

     

    It is time for Wednesday Words! On the 2nd Wednesday of the month, I share with you all a piece of what I'm reading.


    This week I am reading N.K. Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate, the sequel to The Fifth Season. The latter won the Hugo, and this one is nominated for one this year. I'm only 80 pages in and can see why. It's already so good. Visit my thoughts about The Fifth Season in my posts below.

    Wednesday Words: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

    Wednesday Words: A Final Look into The Fifth Season


    Long story short, the world is still ending, but let's see what else I can show you and hopefully not spoil anything too major for myself. There are 391 pages of the story (I see why Goodreads says that, even though there are 434. There's an appendix and extras), and Random.org has chosen page 245. Let me brace myself for a spoiler.


    "No one touch me," you say softly. "No one speak to me." Without waiting to see if they understand, you plunge into the obelisk.


    Not too spoiled, and now I can't wait to see why I (Essun) am doing this again! When Syenite did it in TFS, my soul's jaw dropped.

    I am on vacation next week, but I will most likely schedule Tuesday Tales early. I have an idea of what I want to share with you all. Hint: It's the opening to my next book in The Broken Chronicles (series name still pending because of this, The Broken Earth series).

    What are you reading this week?

    Wednesday, April 5, 2017

    IWSG: Good Luck, A to Z Challengers!



    It is already April! I can't believe it, can you?


    It is also 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, most of you are doing the A to Z Challenge. For those who aren't and don't know about it, every day in April (except Sunday) is a new letter. You can write on anything for the letter of the day. Most people come up with themes, and many preschedule their posts, but you can wing both. I recommend not, but you might be better at time management and energy than I am. Last year was my last go at the challenge for a while, but I was proud of myself. I started prepping in 2015 and was scheduling posts by February 2016! And because my theme was Final Fantasy, I really didn't feel like I was working. I was gushing about my favorite pastime!


    For those of you doing it this year, I wish you the best of luck! Have fun, and make friends!

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    Wednesday Words: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


    It's time for another installment of Wednesday Words, where I share with you a piece of what I'm reading! I'm very excited about this book. I pre-ordered it, and then watched as it was released, and my book hadn't shipped yet. When it finally did and arrived in 1 day, here was my reaction:



    I was super excited. If you don't know anything about this book, you've been living under a rock. Just google Angie Thomas, and you'll get at least one interview. You can also follow her on Twitter at @acthomasbooks. This book remains #1 on the NY Times Best Seller List for YA Hardcovers for the third week in a row! I really hope we can throw up a 4 when the new list comes out.

    A little bit about the premise, Starr, a young black girl who lives in the hood but goes to a predominately white prep school witnesses the murder of her childhood friend by a cop. So much inspired Angie to write this, and it's a very important narrative today. I spent most of Monday reading it while my manager wasn't around, so I've actually read further than I usually have. I need to brace myself for more, because I know this book will only get deeper as I go.

    That said, let's see what I shall share today! Random.org chose page 305 of 464, so I hope there are no spoilers.

    *reads the first couple of lines, laughs*

    I'm thinking, please don't let him sing. Please. But there's this familiar boomp . . . boomp, boomp, boomp.

    "Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down," Chris raps.

    This is funny for so many reasons.

    Have you picked this book up yet? You need to.

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    Fast Five Friday: Express Yourself Edition





    Okay, well hopefully this isn't too confusing. Happy Friday! It's the 4th Friday of the month, and this is the time I have set aside to answer the questions provided by the Cover Girls, Dani and Jax. As there are five weeks in March, I have 5 Express Yourself questions to answer, so I'm going to do them in Fast Five form.


    And away we go!



    Feb 27 - Mar 3  Queso/nacho cheese, guacamole or salsa?  Um, all three, thanks!


    Mar 6 - 10  Share some photos of your writing space. Oh crap, I don't have one!

    Mar 13 - 17  Name a late-great someone you wish you could have met. Selena

    Mar 20 - 24  What's your favorite type of sandwich? A burger. Does that count?

    Mar 27 - 31  What was the last show you watched? Legion on FX




    Answer these if you like! It's always fun to see what others have to say.


    Have a good weekend!





    Tuesday, March 14, 2017

    Tuesday Tales: Constellation Stories



    Happy Tuesday!


    It is the third week of the month, and that means it is time for Tuesday Tales, where I set aside time for character takeovers, short stories, and the like. This is a fun one, because it deals with a little of the world building of Teorre in my manuscript Fractured Princess. I love astronomy and constellations, and in my previous rewrite, I was able to incorporate some of that love into my story. I also wanted to somehow show the constellations, so I used Google to see if there was a constellation creator, and lo and behold, there's an entire website dedicated to MIT projects. So, I chose Constellation Creator by mandostop1, who provided a non-cartoonish and easy to use to program. Below are two constellations and their mythology stories, as Ghuli tells Andyrsn.

    The Dove's Tail

    [This is also a basis for one of Teorre's origin stories.] “Well, before any of our races lived on Teorre, there were doves. They used to fly all about the mountains and trees and stopped only to sleep. One day, when a dove decided he was hungry, he swooped low to nibble from a mysterious white cherry tree. He had never seen a tree like it, and he wanted to see how the cherries tasted. They were so sour on his tongue that he fainted right where he was. When he awoke, he realized his legs had these strange, flat things at the end where his dove’s feet should have been. His talons were short and soft, and there were five on each of these new feet. In fact, he realized his legs were longer. His wings had molted, and these long, gangly limbs were in their place. His beak had become soft as well, and when he tried to call for help, his voice was deep and alien to him. “He needed to see what he looked like, and he knew a lake was near, so he ran to it, jumping and flapping his arms the entire way, hoping he could still fly. When he reached the lake and looked inside, all that was left of his dove self were the feathers on his back and his tail. He was the first person of Teorre. Teorre’s Energy became the first scholar by writing him in the stars there.”
    
    The Fox and Falcon

    A baby fox, stranded by its mother, was wandering aimlessly in the woods, starving and crying for help. A mother falcon who had just lost her own young, came upon the fox and took him under her wing, and she raised him as her own.”


    My favorite constellation is Orion. Do you have one?

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    Wednesday Words: Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler



    Middle of the mornin' to ya!

    The 2nd Wednesday of the month is the day I've set aside to share with you what I am currently reading!

    I forgot to schedule this post, and it's mostly because I'm currently struggling through this book. I read Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower many years ago, and I was underwhelmed by it. Because I usually love her writing, I decided to finally pick up Parable of the Talents, a continuation of the story told by Lauren Oya Olamina (the mc from Sower) and her daughter later on. I will say, it's a very timely read, with many parallels to what is currently happening in the country. Other than that, there's a good chance I won't finish this book, but I'll keep trying.

    Also, the Kindle cover is gorgeous.


    There are 394 pages in the Kindle edition. Random.org has chosen page 192, so let's see what we find there.

    "May?"
    No answer. She couldn't talk, but she would have made a noise to let us know she was there.

    I'm only 70 pages away from this, and things are calm where I am. Now I have to keep reading to see what happened!

    What are you reading this week?

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017

    IWSG: I've Spent the Month Doing A Major Revision

    Brought to us by Alex. J Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group
    It is already another month. Happy Ash Wednesday to those who celebrate!



    With the new month comes another Insecure Writer's Support Group blog meeting! Hello. :) This is a safe place for us writers to come together and vent our insecurities to others who are doing the same thing. Visit our Master Ninja, Alex Cavanaugh sensei, and the group's websites to join in with us!


    Life update: I started a new blog that's more like a diary for my regular life. If you're interested in it, poke by to see me at Confessions of a Girlchild.

    Writing update:
    Way back in October when I got flooded with agent/editor likes during DVPit on Twitter, the amazing Jodi Meadows offered to look at my first few pages for me. We started talking, and I ended up being a sensitivity reader for her next book, Before She Ignites, and she also offered to look at my complete manuscript in the new year.

    And boy, did she! For the first time, I received in depth, line-by-line feedback and an edit letter that laid out the plot points of where my manuscript was falling flat. If you have followed me, you know I've had a hard time getting CPs, and when I did, they didn't even stick long enough to finish reading the book for one reason or another. So with every revision, I've had to rely on myself, which was frustrating. I put my all into looking over the work of others, so when it's not reciprocated with the same dedication, I always feel like it's something I've done, or that my writing is just THAT bad that they can't even finish it. I also feel bad for being frustrated because at least 3 of the people whom I had handed my manuscript to had personal problems they had to deal with, and I don't want to judge their coping abilities based on my own (2016 was garbage), but I'm a "push through when you have responsibilities to other people" kind of person. So, it's been hard.

    That said, I spent many hours looking at Jodi's notes, reading, revising, deleting, adding, just making Fractured Princess something that will hopefully make some agent finally send me an offer. I finally have pitches and queries worthy of "I want to see more," and now I hope the manuscript is also up to snuff. Wish me luck.

    The question for the month:
    Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

    Yes. I tried to revamp a story I wrote in my childhood, based on X-Men. I couldn't really develop a plot for it, and it was a lot of backstory, so I don't know if I'll pick it up again. It might get absorbed into another story idea I have. We'll see.


    See you soon!

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    Final Fantasy Friday: A Month at the Carnival

    It's the last Friday in February, and so that means it is time for:










    This is the day I have set aside to shoot the breeze about blog memes, when available, and my Final Fantasy obsession. As you know, this year I have started playing Final Fantasy XV. This game is an experience. I'm almost sure I'm not even halfway done, and part of that is because of the ability to do side quests immediately, a first in the whole franchise, and also partly because at the end of January, a DLC (additional downloadable content) was added known as the Moogle Chocobo Carnival!


    Think of it as a state fair. One of the cities in the game received a huge festival makeover, and you could do everything from fishing, to playing games, to helping little kids retrieve their balloons. Each night at about 8pm fireworks started going off for hours (probably about 20 minutes IRL), and if you racked up enough coins, you could buy a voucher to spend a night in the hotel and get a front row seat to the fireworks show. I took a lot of pictures but forgot to share them, so I can't access them right now.


    Here are a few of pictures I shared on Twitter of Noctis and his dream guide Carbuncle riding the gondola through town.


    You could change Noctis's clothes, so here he is being casual.

    
    Look at the detail!


    
    You could skip the scenic route, but sometimes, I just liked to look around.
    Items you acquired through the carnival rolled over to your regular game, so I tried to get as many items as I could. I had a lot of fun, and now that the carnival is gone, I need to dive back into the real game. People are dropping spoilers on Instagram! *sigh* The price of not having the luxury of playing all day anymore.


    It's a beautiful day in Delaware, so I hope the same goes for wherever you are! Get outside and have a good weekend!

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    It's my Blogoversary!

    Happy Blogday to Me!




    I know it's Monday, but I just checked my Timehop, and today marks 4 years since I started blogging!

    First off, I'm surprised I'm still doing it. I struggled quite a few times, but changing my posting schedule to suit what fits my time has helped me to keep going. Thanks to everyone who has read over the years!

    To commemorate my 4th Blogoversary, I thought I would highlight 4 posts from my original blog, The (old) Write Mage, where I wrote 400 posts about movies, music, books, life, awards, etc. I did the MOST on that blog. No wonder I burned out.


    My very first post, in which I was sending out my first 45 pages of Fractured Princess, then Save the Queen, and synopsis to Tom Doherty & Associates:
    http://thewritemage.blogspot.com/2012/04/about-to-query-tom-doherty-assoc.html


    The post where I decided to change my MC Ghuli from white to black:
    http://thewritemage.blogspot.com/2012/06/color-line.html


    The post where I admitted I started writing not because of books, but because of TV:
    http://thewritemage.blogspot.com/2014/09/friday-freeday-writer-because-of-tv.html


    The post where my short story was PUBLISHED!:
    http://thewritemage.blogspot.com/2015/01/look-for-me-in-cactus-heart-press-wgifs.html


    I wish I were famous enough to give something away lol. If you want not-so-expert advice on queries or your first five pages or whatever you want...I guess you can ask? lol Ooh, or anyone who leaves a comment, I'll just use Random.org like I always do. That makes more sense.





    Saturday, February 18, 2017

    Saturday Sketch: Brodie's Tattoo

    Happy Saturday!

    So for my last Tuesday Tales, I had Brodie talk about her and Cyan's tattoos, but I also realized I never drew hers. So Thursday, I sketched it up. I posted it on Twitter, but here it is anyway! I learned I could draw an eagle. :)


    Have a good weekend!

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Tuesday Tales: The Sprite Child's Epic



    It's been an interesting and long few days for me, so I thought I would let myself not think so much for this post.

    One of the goals I had for Fractured Princess was to make other pieces of it available in some story form or another, short stories, prequels (hadn't thought of sequels, but then my darn mind betrayed me). I want to flesh out a children's book from the story: The Sprite Child's Epic. It's been a while since I opened this document, but I loved writing this one scene, so here it is for your enjoyment, hopefully. It's mainly dialogue.

    ----------------
    Talking to the Trees

    Lenne trembled as she rubbed her eyes with her fists. Surely, she was not seeing what she was seeing. Sir Willa was looking at her and speaking to her, without her imagination. She lowered her hands and looked at the holes in the tree staring back at her.

    “S-s-sir Willa?” she gasped.

    “’Tis what you call me, my lady,” he answered. “I must say, ’tis a simple name and a lot shorter than my real one.”

    “W-what is your real one?”

    “Teospriesellopatna.”

    “Tee…teeos…”

    “You see? I was nearly two decades old before I could say it myself. Sir Willa is much easier. My real name means Spirit of the Green Willows of Teorre. I am the father of all the green willow trees.”

    “All the green ones? Are there other colors?”

    “Oh, my yes, Little Lady Lenne. Come sit.”

    And right before Lenne’s eyes, Sir Willa tied a bundle of his switches together and made a hammock for her. Wide-eyed and slack-jawed, Lenne approached her friend who just this afternoon had not been able to do any of these things himself. The fly perched itself between Sir Willa’s eyes as he spoke.

    “Now, there are two other kinds of willow trees, but they are across the northern waters, and also far south on another land. Their parents are Teospriesellocalla and Teosprieselloabbi, the Spirits of the Blue and White Willows of Teorre.”

    “Blue and white trees?” Lenne raised her brow high in astonishment.

    “Teorre is very interesting outside of your little home, my lady.”

    “You keep saying Teorre. What is that?”

    “’Tis the world on which we live. Quite simply, it means, the earth. Only those of us sensitive to this side of it know its name, and now you are here, so now you know it, too.”

    “This side. What is this side? I saw myself asleep, yet I was not asleep, but standing away from my body.”

    Sir Willa’s long mouth curved upward. He was frowning. “You were bitten by the faeriefly then.”

    “The what?”

    “The faeriefly.” One of Sir Willa’s switches bent upwards and pointed to the glowing fly still sitting between his eyes. “Her magic is a fickle thing. She bit you and accidentally split your living body from your dream body. We must find a way to get you back into your living body before your Papa notices.”

    “Oh dear, he will think me dead!”

    “No, no. You are still breathing, Little Lady Lenne. You are just sleeping very deeply. You must see Teosprilacca. She can help you get to where you need to go first.”

    “First? I cannot just wake up?”

    “’Tis not that simple, my lady. You need a magic more controlled to help you. For that, you need to go to the Crystal Bearers. They are the most powerful people on Teorre.”

    “Crystal Bearers? You mean there are others on this land?”

    “Not this land, but the land across the northern waters. Teosprilacca will take you.”

    “Teo…Do you mean Lady Kwakwa?”

    “Yes, and you may want to call her Lady Lacca when you see her. She does not like your name for her. She says ducks make that noise.”

    “Oh dear…And the Beauterfleas? Do they not like their name either?”

    “Butterflies are vain little things. They love that you call them beauties.”

    “Oh, good.”

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017

    Wednesday Words: Final Look Into The Fifth Season







    Happy Hump Day!

    I have about 80 pages left in N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, and what a ride it has been! For a second, I thought to myself, "I can't wait to buy this," somehow thinking it was a library book. I definitely bought this book. Anyway, it's dark and twisty, and I love it. I can't wait to read more of her books. She's awesome!

    So, now that I've nearly finished the book, let me use Random.org to share a few lines from page 354. Hey, I was just there. A very poignant and currently relevant conversation happened, so here is a little of it.


    She comes into the house and leans against the wall next to the door, crossing her arms and her ankles. "We aren't human."

     "Yes. We. Are." His voice turns fierce. "I don't give a shit what the something-somethingth council of big important farts decreed, or how the geomests classify things, or any of that. That we're not human is just the lie they tell themselves so they don't have to feel bad about how they treat us--"



    I am so close to the end and have yet to figure out how it ends...for the last time. I'll most likely tweet about it, and a Goodreads review is coming soon!

    What have you read these past few weeks?